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As kids get older, they drink more sugar-sweetened beverages. They include:

  • soft drinks
  • fruit drinks (e.g. punches, lemonades)
  • specialty coffee/tea drinks
  • sports and energy drinks
  • sweetened milks

These beverages are the single largest source of sugar in kids’ diets – accounting for almost 1/2 (44%) of kids’ sugar intake every day. One study found that each additional sugar-sweetened beverage per day increases the risk of a child becoming obese by 60%.

In the Central Scarborough community, our participants reported that children ate at fast food restaurants approximately 2 to 3 times a week and purchased foods at convenience stores approximately 1-2 times a week. Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages ranged between 1-2 times a week for children aged 1-4 years old, increasing to more than 4 times a week for children 5-12 years old. The consumption of pop/juice increased significantly when children are in school or attending after school programs where juice is provided.

The new Healthy Kids Community Challenge theme encourages kids and families to reach for water when thirsty. Research has shown that when children are used to drinking water at a young age, they are more likely to drink water later in life.

The next time you’re thirsty, reach for a glass of water. It’s the natural, healthy and free choice!