RICHMOND – You wouldn’t eat 54 cubes of sugar, so why are you drinking them?
That’s how much sugar is in the average 64-ounce soda and kids will get a chance to see that firsthand at any one of the more than 175 Rev Your Bev Day events being hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth on Wednesday May 15 at schools and youth centers across Virginia. The flagship event will be held at the C. Waldo Scott Center for H.O.P.E. in Newport News at 2:30 p.m. on May 15.
“Soda and sugary drinks are the biggest single source of calories from sugar in the American diet. The average American drinks approximately 44 gallons of soda each year so this is a critical issue for preventing and reducing childhood obesity,” says Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Obesity Prevention Coordinator Heidi Hertz.
For every additional sugary drink consumed per day, a child’s risk of becoming overweight increases by 60 percent and it takes more than an hour of walking to burn off the 240 calories in a 24-ounce cola bottle.
Schools and organizations participating in the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s first Rev Your Bev Day will also assist in a statewide health survey being conducted by VFHY’s high school volunteer group Y Street, which will be collecting information about Virginians’ behaviors and attitudes regarding sugary drinks.
More information about Rev Your Bev Day, including a map of all the events being held across Virginia, can be found at www.revyourbev.com.
Y Street is the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s award-winning youth-led volunteer movement with a mission to increase public awareness and knowledge of two critical health issues: obesity and tobacco use. More than 6,000 teens have participated in Y Street across Virginia since 2004. Y Street was named the top youth advocacy group for tobacco-use prevention in the nation in 2011 by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Y Street members have presented data from health surveys to top government officials, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the Food and Drug Administration, and Virginia’s governor, attorney general and secretary of Health and Human Resources.
About the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth:
Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1999, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth is responsible for statewide efforts to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use and childhood obesity. Since the Foundation began its work in 2001, high school smoking in Virginia has been cut more than in half and the number of middle school smokers has dropped by more than 70 percent.
With the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s help, Virginia has already reached the CDC’s Healthy People 2020 goal of cutting youth smoking in Virginia to below 13.5 percent of high school students by 2020.
The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth directly reaches about 50,000 children each year through classroom-based prevention programs in public schools, after-school programs, community centers, daycares and prevention programs across the state. VFHY’s award-winning marketing campaign delivers prevention messages to more than 500,000 children annually through TV and radio ads and Internet content. For more information, visit www.vfhy.org .
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 Welsh JA, Sharma AJ, Grellinger L, Vos MB. Consumption of added sugars is decreasing in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr 94(3):726–34. 2011.
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 Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation Between Consumption Of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks And Childhood Obesity: A prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001; 357: 505–08
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Aim for a Healthy Weight. IH Publication No. 05-5213. August 2005.