Experts can mostly agree that sugary drinks aren’t the best beverage for our health.
But now, the local American Heart Association is trying to show us how sweetened drinks are playing a larger role in our weight and heart health.
The American Heart Association hosted a forum in La Jolla today called, “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: ReThink Your Drink.” The event brought local health professionals and community leaders together to get information on the role sugary drinks play in the obesity epidemic and what can be done to reduce consumption.
“We don’t recognize how much sugar is in these drinks so we are trying to educate parents, health officials, and restaurants on how much it adds to health problems”, said Theresa Latosh, Communication Relations Manager for Vi La Jolla.
The American Heart Association says limiting the intake of sugary drinks is the next step in combating future health problems in our communities. And these health risks are serious.
Just drinking one soda a day can raise your risk for having a coronary event by 20 percent.
These sugary drinks also include sports and energy drinks.
And if that isn’t enough to scare you from drinking the sugar-filled beverage, imagine eating 10 teaspoons of sugar. That’s the amount in a can of soda.
These risks are especially large for children.
“This generation of children stands to have a shorter lifespan than their parents unless we do something about what’s happening today. We can’t have kids drinking ‘Big Gulps’ on the way to kindergarten,” said Jim Dunford, President of the American Heart Association San Diego.
One mother of two says she is already trying to teach her kids healthier habits since she didn’t have that advantage herself.
“Growing up, all my parents let me drink was soda. Now, I want my children to grow up healthier and by me changing that, it’s keeping me healthier too,” says Latonya Frazier.
So, how does San Diego stack up? Actually, much better than the rest of the counties in California.
San Diego’s obesity rate dropped four percent in the past year, which some researchers are attributing to the decrease in junk food found in our schools.