Health coalition urges smarter drink choices

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans get more calories from sugary drinks than any other type of beverage. But Get Healthy CT, the regional wellness coalition of hospitals, health departments and other health and social service providers, notes that the calories in sugar-sweetened beverages are “empty calories” because they have no nutritional benefit.

During April, Get Healthy CT is urging area residents to “rethink your drink,” starting by eliminating those empty calories from sugar-sweetened beverages. To help achieve this, the group is offering free information and advice on the “Monthly Health Feature” section of its website, GetHealthyCT.org, including:

Making Smart Drink Choices

“Drop Liquid Calories,” Chapter 4: A Year of Being Well by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

Make Better Beverage Choices

Beverages: Make Every Sip Count

Choose Health. Drink Water.

Water Recipes: Kiwi Berry Blend, LOL Blend, Rosemary Watermelon and Peach Strawberry Medley

GetHealthyCT warns that sugar comes in many forms — including agave nectar, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, evaporated can juice, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, honey, maple syrup, molasses and sucrose — making it important to read drink labels.

The coalition also promotes the importance of drinking water, saying it should be the primary beverage for children.

Most information is available in English and Spanish. Direct access is available at gethealthyct.org/topic-of-the-month/. An archive of previous monthly features is also available.

Get Healthy CT focuses on a different obesity prevention topic each month and provides resources in print and online. Printed information packets are also available at Bridgeport area libraries, community centers, regional health departments, and other locations.

Get Healthy CT is a community coalition that works in the greater Bridgeport, New Haven, and Greenwich regions to make the “healthy choice the easy choice.” Get Healthy CT provides information about being healthy and connects people to local resources to support healthy eating and physical activity through its website GetHealthyCT.org. More than 150 large and small businesses and nonprofit and community organizations have joined the coalition to date, along with individuals and families, too.

Obesity in the Region

The obesity rates in the United States and greater Bridgeport region are increasing due to many factors such as portion sizes, food choices, lack of convenient supermarkets in neighborhoods, consumer advertising, food costs, and more sedentary lifestyles. Likewise, it is clear that obesity contributes to other serious health complications including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, to name a few. According to the Greater Bridgeport Community Health Assessment (2013), survey respondents in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford, and Trumbull report obesity rates ranging from 16 percent to 32% The Greater New Haven Community Health Index (2013) lists obesity rates in that region from 18% to 31%.

About Get Healthy CT

Founded in 2010, Get Healthy CT (GHCT) is a coalition of large and small businesses and nonprofit and community organizations that are collaborating to reduce obesity in the greater Bridgeport, New Haven, and Greenwich regions. To accomplish this goal, Get Healthy CT strives to educate and encourage people to eat healthier and exercise more in order to stay healthy and productive and be the connecting point through its website to help people find affordable, healthy foods and low or no cost ways to be active. There is no cost to become a member. To learn more, visit GetHealthyCT.org <http://GetHelathyCT.org> or search for Get Healthy CT on Facebook.

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