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The Kids Sent Me

Doctor tells committee, "There is NOTHING in soda that is good for you."

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hero_image_alt_text===Dr. Barbara Frankowski at a hearing.
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When it comes to the health of Vermont's kids, they have an exceptional advocate in Dr. Barbara Frankowski.

Wearing a sticker saying, "The kids sent me," Dr. Frankowski held up a shot glass at a legislative hearing this month and showed legislators how little an amount of sugary drinks that can have an impact on kids' weight if consumed regularly over time.

Frankowski pointed to a study that followed 644 children aged 7-11 for 1 school year. They found that the group of children who drank an average of 50 ml more soda a day increased their percent of overweight and obesity by 7.5%! This is remarkable!!

Frankowski, a pediatrician at the University of Vermont Medical Center and a professor at the Larner College of Medicine, has testified on a number of priority issues including the sugary beverage tax and Tobacco 21 legislation. Now, she's fighting for S.70 for healthy drinks as the default beverages in restaurant kids meals.

A portion of her testimony is below:

What do I see in my office? I see children with Type 2 Diabetes – which used to be so rare in children that I didn’t even learn about it in medical school and my pediatric residency! I see preschoolers who have to have most of their teeth pulled because of caries. I see school-aged children at higher risk of being bullied because of their weight, who then don’t want to participate in PE, or don’t want to go to school. I see children and adolescents who are depressed.

I also see parents who love their children and are trying to do their best. We talk about soda and sugary beverages in the office, but my words of advice are anemic compared to the sophisticated advertising supporting the consumption of these unhealthy beverages! Making beverages that are heathy for children the easy, default option when ordering a “child meal” is a huge help to parents (and grandparents) who are trying to do the right thing.

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