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Health Unit launches healthy drinks awareness campaign

SIMCOE, ON, FEB. 29, 2008 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is launching a healthy drinks awareness campaign in response to growing concern over sugar-filled and caffeine-laden drinks targeted at children.

“Rethink Your Drink,” being held in conjunction with March’s Nutrition Month and April’s Dental Health Month, is aimed at parents of elementary school children and encourages consumption of healthy, nutrient-rich drinks.

“Many people are not aware that high-sugar beverages are usually low in nutrients and add a significant number of empty calories to the diet,” said Health Unit Dietitian Kathy Page. “With children, these drinks often replace nutritious choices such as milk, and can lead to a lower intake of nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D. When people regularly choose beverages with added sugar, such as pop instead of water, milk and 100% juice, they are putting themselves at risk for cavities, osteoporosis and obesity. As well, energy drinks contain caffeine and herbs and, therefore, are not recommended for children.”

Health Unit Dental Hygienist Kim Casier recommends water, milk and 100% juice as healthy choices.

“Water with fluoride prevents cavities and is the best choice for quenching thirst,” she said. “Milk has calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones and teeth, and 100% fruit juice contains vitamins.”

The Health Unit has posted a quiz on its website that helps parents increase their knowledge of healthy drinks. Parents completing the six-question quiz can also order a free activity calendar for recording their children’s activities for the month. To access the quiz, go to www.hnhu.org, scroll down the page and click on the image.

The Health Unit is also planning to distribute Rethink Your Drink information at various locations, such as minor sports settings, dental offices, libraries and after-school programs.

Media Contacts:
Kathy Page, Dietitian
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170, Ext. 3247

or

Kim Casier, Dental Hygienist
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170, Ext. 3249