According to the National Centers for Disease Control, nearly a third of all U.S. children and more than 65 percent of adults are overweight, or obese. Some 65.7 percent of Will County residents are overweight or obese, and the extra pounds most of us carry leads to life-altering chronic conditions.
Obesity is linked to dozens of chronic diseases and conditions, including: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, hypertension, kidney failure, sleep disorders and even asthma. The excess consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) is a major factor in the U.S. obesity problem, and a principal reason why the Will County Health Department is participating in the Rethink Your Drink campaign throughout February.
SSBs are the leading source of calories for American teens and a major factor in the growing incidence of adult obesity. According to the CDC, nearly 20 percent of Will County adults drink SSBs at least once daily.
A SSB is any beverage with added caloric sweetener, including: soda, other carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, powdered drinks, sweetened tea or coffee drinks, and flavor enhanced water. Common sweeteners include: high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, sucrose, brown sugar, agave syrup and corn sweeteners.
The Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity sponsors the Rethink Your Drink campaign each February in an effort to help people understand the health impact of sugar sweetened beverages and to encourage them to help improve obesity rates by limiting the amount of SSBs they consume daily. Making healthier beverage choices leads to better health outcomes for you and your family.
SSBs are the #1 source of added sugar (46 percent) in the American diet. The Health Department reminds you that healthier options are available for anyone looking to reduce their daily SSB intake. Options include: water, diet drinks, low-fat or fat-free milk, unsweetened coffee, or unsweetened tea.
Try adding fresh fruit to your water. Learn to read nutrition labels and calculate the amount of sugar content in drinks. Remember, four grams of sugar is equivalent to a teaspoon of sugar.
The Health Department will be participating in a 30 day water challenge to encourage employees to drink more water and to educate them about the benefits of making healthier choices. The 30-day challenge begins February 1.
To learn more about Rethink Your Drink, visit www.willcountymapp.org/rethinkyourdrink.