Guest Blogger: Don Weisman
As adults, we are responsible for making sure our keiki have the opportunity to live long, healthy lives. Recently, the American Heart Association came out with its first ever scientific statement in regards to the amount of added sugar children should consume.
Based on research the AHA believes children should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of “added sugars” a day. These added sugars can come in many forms and are often added to foods in addition to the naturally occurring sugars. Along with the limits on added sugars in food it is recommended that children consume no more than 8 ounces of sugary beverages a week. This can include soda, fruit juices with added sugar and sports drinks.
These limits are important as we work to minimize a child’s risk of conditions such as obesity and diabetes that can lead to cardiovascular disease. If started early, parents can help train a child’s taste-buds and food preferences to last into their adult years when they are making the decisions for themselves and their own families.
This announcement comes on the heels of cities such as Berkeley, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania passing legislation that will assess a fee on to the sale of sugary beverages. Berkeley has already seen a 21 percent decrease in consumption of sugary beverages in low-income neighborhoods since the implementation of the fee.
Along with the sugary beverage fee, we hope to see Hawaii make water or milk the default choices in children’s meal options at local restaurants instead of sugary drinks. The shift away from a child receiving a soda as the default option will allow parents to teach their children what healthy drink choices are available to them.
We hope we can count on your support as we work to pass some of these policies in Hawaii. After all we believe our keiki are sweet enough as they are.
If you would like more information about the AHA’s new science guidelines on children and sugar please visit: http://news.heart.org/kids-and-added-sugars-how-much-is-too-much/