When I was in Grade 8 (way back when), one of my favourite things to drink was Fruitopia. Who could say no to the fun colours, witty names and sage life advice printed all over the bottle? When you’re 14, "Strawberry Passion Awareness" is quite the revelation. And according to a study in the October issue of Pediatrics, not much has changed: even the healthiest kids’the ones who eat fruit and veggies willingly and are physically active’can’t resist the allure of sugary drinks, reports the CBC.
The study, which looked at the drinking habits of more than 15,000 kids in Texas from Grade 8 to Grade 11, found that the students were consuming three or more sugary beverages‘such as pop, sports drinks and flavoured water’every day. Nalini Ranjit, an assistant professor of behavioural sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health, suggests that one possible reason behind their drinking habits is that kids mistakenly think that these drinks are healthy.
And who could blame them? Marketing is a powerful force, whether you’re 14 or 40. So when you see commercials and billboards with your hero Sidney Crosby chugging down a Gatorade, you’re going to think it seems pretty darn appealing. I mean, if athletes drink Gatorade and Vitamin Water, they must be good for you, right? Add to that the fact that sugar is pretty addictive all on its own and you start to understand why Suzy would rather drink a Snapple than a plain old glass of water.
But water is really the best thing that your kids’and you’could drink. It’s cheap, low-calorie and not packed with sugar that will add inches to your waistline. Bottom line: if you really want your kids to be healthy, get them to drink more water. If they already understand the benefits of fruit and veggies, teaching them why sugary drinks are potentially harmful shouldn’t be that big of a stretch and will help keep their healthy lifestyle on the right track.
How do you convince your kids to drink water instead of pop? Do you have rules in your house about sugary drinks?