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Sugar and Our Children

The American Heart Association recently came out with its first ever scientific statement regarding the amount of added sugar children should consume.

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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 includes soda, fruit juices with added sugar, energy drinks any beverage with added sugars a limited nutritional content.

These limits are important as we work to minimize a child’s risk of conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes that can lead to increased risk of hypertension and 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 in the future.

This announcement comes on the heels of cities such as Berkeley and Philadelphia passing legislation that will tax the sale of sugary beverages. Berkeley has already reported a shift away from these sugar filled drinks in some of their low-income neighborhoods due to the increase in price. Raising awareness about the health effects of regular sugary drink consumption and the ties to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease be a priority across the nation in the future.

Along with the soda taxes, we hope to see all states shift to make water the default choice 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 make the healthy choice the easy choice.

We hope we can count on your support as we work to pass some of these obesity prevention policies in the future.

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/

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