Go On Green…when choosing healthy beverages

 

It began in 2004, when the sale of junk food and soda in vending machines was banned from Boston public school systems in an effort to trim Boston’s rising obesity rates among children and youth.

Six months ago, Mayor Thomas Menino issued an executive order to remove sugary beverages from vending machines on all city property. Since last May the sales, advertising, and promotion of sugary drinks has been phased out.

This order applies to cafeterias, vending machines, and concession stands as well as beverages served at meetings. The drinks that have been banned include: non-diet sodas, pre-sweetened ice teas, refrigerated coffee drinks, energy drinks, juice drinks with added sugar, and sports drinks. These drinks have been identified as “red” beverages according to a release from the Mayor’s office. Diet sodas and diet iced teas, 100 percent fruit juices and low calorie sports drinks qualify as “yellow” beverages, and “green” drinks include bottled water, low fat milk or unsweetened soy milk. If you are not sure what qualifies as a healthy beverage, the Boston Public Health Commission has applied red, yellow, and green labels to drinks and highlights this message on nearby posters that read, “Stop. Rethink Your Drink. Go On Green.”

“This campaign is a unique opportunity for Boston residents to have a real dialogue about how sugary beverages contribute to obesity rates and lead to other preventable diseases like Type 2 diabetes,” the City’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said in a press release. “The nation spends $147 billion a year to treat obesity-related health conditions and Boston is not immune to that. It costs more to treat obese patients than a patient with a healthy weight.”

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, Americans consume more than 200 calories each day from sugary drinks. This is four times what we consumed in 1965. This rise in the consumption of sugar-laden beverages has contributed to our obesity and diabetes epidemics. Boston joins San Francisco, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and New York City by setting limits on unhealthy beverage and food sales.

“With the launch of this campaign, I’m asking all parents in the city of Boston to join me in taking responsibility for helping young people choose healthier foods and beverages. And I’m asking youth – especially teenagers – to take a leadership role among your peers and push them to make healthier choices,” Mayor Menino said.

In the past month the campaign, funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, designed several ads urging parents to give their kids healthier options and reminding that calories from sugary drinks can cause obesity and type 2 diabetes.

More information about the campaign can be found at www.sugarsmarts.com and www.fatsmack.org.

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