Coinciding with a host of sugary beverage awareness events occurring statewide, Governor Pat Quinn has declared February 2014 as Rethink Your Drink Month in Illinois, encouraging Illinoisans to limit their sugary beverage consumption and choose healthier options.
The Governor’s proclamation dovetails with a wide array of educational activities on the health effects of sugary beverage consumption and the benefits of healthier choices being hosted by health departments, schools, non-profits and after-school programs across the state as part of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity’s (IAPO) Rethink Your Drink campaign.
Event organizers are urging people to “go on green,” drinking plenty of beverages such as water, seltzer water and skim or one- percent milk. Equally important, the campaign recommends people to “stop on red” by rarely drinking, if at all, beverages such as regular sodas, energy or sports drinks and sweetened coffee or tea.
Join the movement by taking the Rethink Your Drink 30-Day Pledge!
The American Heart Association, the Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs, EverThrive Illinois, Oak Park School District, the Illinois Association for Public Health Administrators, Champaign Urbana Public Health District, Adams County Health Department, McHenry County Health Department, Kane County Health Department, Jackson County Health Department and the DeKalb County Health Department are just some of entities that hosted an array of activities including worksite wellness forums, water tastings, Hidden Sugars displays and social networking around Rethink Your Drink. For quick and fun ideas on how you can participate, view the IAPO Rethink Your Drink Toolkit.
The Rethink Your Drink campaign is an initiative of IAPO, the only statewide coalition on obesity prevention, an alliance made up of more than 140 organizations across the state, which has focused on raising awareness of the health harms of sugary beverages since 2010.
“Numerous studies have established a link between obesity and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks sweet teas and sports drinks, “ reads the Governor’s proclamation, “…[and] the obesity epidemic has led to a dramatic increase in obesity-related health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.”
“The state spends more than $4 billion every year to treat obesity-related health problems, and obesity causes debilitating disease for millions of Illinoisans,” said Elissa Bassler, CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute, the organization that convenes IAPO. “We can’t afford this epidemic in either the predicted increases in healthcare costs, or the loss of life. Obesity is a complex issue and we need comprehensive policy-level strategies that help make healthy beverages more appealing and affordable than unhealthy ones, like making water freely available at schools, prominently displaying healthy choices in stores and asking public officials to provide only healthy drinks at government facilities like parks and libraries.”
To learn more about the Rethink Your Drink campaign, visit IAPO’s website at www.preventobesityil.org and ‘Like’ IAPO’s Facebook Page for event updates. To learn more facts about sugary drinks, visit http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/.
*This message was funded in part by a grant from Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association