Make One Small Change to Impact Your Child’s Health this Year

Did you know that sugary drinks are the single largest source of added sugar in Americans’ diets today?

As sports practices start back up for the school year, and as we’re planning out school lunches, remember that the drinks we choose for our kids are just as important as the food. Drinking soda, sweet tea, juice drinks, sports and energy drinks, sweetened milk and sugary coffee drinks can lead to obesity and serious health issues like Type 2 diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends children only have 6 teaspoons of added sugar each day; the average sports drink has 8 teaspoons in just one drink!

Choose water and/or low-fat milk to cut back on sugar intake and avoid empty calories. If your child wants a little more flavor, try fruit-infused water or 100 percent juice. Add a fun water bottle to your back-to-school shopping list to encourage your child to fill it up throughout the day and to stay hydrated.

The American Heart Association is asking you to make one small change and cut back on sugary drinks for your child this year. Sugar-sweetened beverages provide no nutritional value to a person’s diet.  Choosing drinks like water and low-fat milk are options that can also nourish your body and are healthy for your heart.

When making a beverage choice, think of a stoplight:

  • Green – Go For it:
    • Water
    • Low-Fat milk
    • Seltzer water
  • Yellow – Drink occasionally
    • 100 percent juice
    • Diet soda
    • Low-calorie drinks
  • Red – Eliminate
    • Soda
    • Sports drinks
    • Energy drinks
    • Sweetened Tea

For more tips on how to avoid sugary drinks and how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, visit

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