Cut sugary drinks!

Childhood obesity is a public health crisis. Studies have shown that sugary drinks are the single largest source of added calories in the American diet even toddlers consume far more calories from sugary drinks today than they did 30 years ago and early childhood obesity rates have more than doubled over that same period of time.

In response to this threat, Healthy and Active Before 5 and First 5 Contra Costa have launched  a hard-hitting campaign urging parents to protect their toddlers and preschoolers from sugary drinks, and serve them water instead.

As you can see from the artwork, we’re not pulling any punches with this campaign:


Protect our children.

The beverage industry spends millions marketing sugary drinks to children, especially to Latino and African American children.  We think parents deserve to know the truth about the serious health risks associated with these drinks.  In order to protect the health of Contra Costa County kids, we’ve provided a counter message to what the beverage industry uses to target our children. 

We hope this helps parents to establish healthy habits in young children that will lead to long, healthy adult lives.

About the campaign.   sugarbites-protect-avoid

Look for ads in English and Spanish on BART platforms, transit shelters, convenience store windows, and check cashing facilities in Bay Point, Concord, Pittsburg, Richmond, and San Pablo.  These will run through July and August.

New Websites:
We also have developed websites in English and Spanish with more information about sugary drinks and why water and low-fat or non-fat milk are the healthiest options for children.


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Lessons Learned from Richmond Soda Tax

Last year, Richmond City Councilmember Jeff Ritterman and members of Fit for Life made a gallant effort towards reducing consumption of soda by imposing a 1 cent per ounce sugar sweetened beverage tax.

It was a controversial move that generated heated discussions, strong opposition from the beverage companies and news coverage across the country.

The measure did not pass. Why?  We know that soda and other sugary drinks aren’t good for us.. What was it about this measure and other efforts to reduce soda consumption that just didn’t work?

Richmond stake holders shared with us some advice about possible next steps for Contra Costa County.

  • More support from non-profit organizations. Jenny Wang, a Fit For Life organizer, shared that it was an uphill battle for the organization due to lack of funding and volunteers.
  • The tax helped increase education about sugar sweetened beverages. Coire Reilly from Contra Costa Health Services, said that the initiative provided an opportunity for better communication between Health Services and the community.
  • Plan ahead! Bring community to the table early on. Rhea Laughlin at First 5 Contra Costa said residents of the West County Regional Group had concerns about how soda tax revenue would be spent.  Include the community in early staged of policy development.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest held a webinar that discussed other lessons learned from Richmond’s and El Monte’s ballot measures.

Download the slides here: Understanding-Future-Policy-Implications-1-24-13-presentation.pdf (2.8 MB)

What next?

We heard you! At our January meeting our partners said Healthy and Active Before 5 should do more work in county wide policy. In the coming months the Executive Committee will have further discussion on what that means for us as a project.

In the meantime, we will continue educating about sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage you to adopt healthy policies. We have mini-grants available.. Have you adopted a healthy policy recently?

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Too much TV is unhealthy for kids.

A whopping 90% of children under the age of two watch at least 2 hours of television per day. They are either sitting directly in front of the TV watching their favorite programs or the television is on in the background.

Too much time in front of the television has been linked to increased childhood obesity rates.  It reduces time for playful activity and exposes children to ads that encourage un-healthy eating.

Healthy alternatives from food and beverage companies does not mitigate the impact advertising has on childhood obesity.  New campaigns are blaming obesity on the family.

Watch the following video from Coco Cola and how deceptive their new ‘healthy options’ campaign really is.

Children under the age of two should not be watching TV at all.  No more than 2 hours a day according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

What can you do to limit television for children in your care?

As an organization you can…

  • Remove televisions from waiting rooms or turn them off when lots of children are present.
  • Place vending machines where children can’t see them.
  • Avoid contests or giveaways targeted for children involving unhealthy food or beverages.
  • Instead try social marketing or education campaigns that encourage healthy foods!

Dr. Diane Dooley presented more information about screen time and the effects of advertising to our Leadership Council.

Download Dr. Dooley’s unhealthy marketing presentation here: Marketing2013.ppt

We will be drafting a new policy to reduce marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to young children, which will be part of our 2013-14 “Pledge the Practice. Pass the Policy” mini-grant initiative, so stay tuned!

Do you think children are watching too much tv? What are you doing to keep your children away from negative marketing?

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Don’t be afraid to play outside!

We believe that outdoor play is the best way to incorporate physical activity in your child’s day.

  Contra Costa Health Plan has put together a brochure with helpful tips and resources that takes the worry out of outdoor play.

  • Too cold? Bring a jacket and a hat! Children don’t get sick from playing outside in the cold.
  • Bring jump ropes, frisbee, chalk or beach balls to cut down on costs and invite others to join in.
  • Set limits on  tv time and increase the amount of outdoor time to play and be active as a family

Download the Plan to Play Brochure  -English ( pdf 829 KB)   Spanish ( pdf 829 KB)

Print out our Pittsburg Play Map

Healthy and Active Before 5, and the East County Regional Group put together a  flyer that lists our favorite play locations in the city of Pittsburg..  

  • Highlands Ranch : Plenty of green fields for your child try out different sports.

    Highlands Ranch Park in Pittsburg

  • Stoneman  3 different play structures to prevent boredom and
  • Take the bus to the new Mariner Park..a great, clean neighborhood!

TIP: Get in some heart pumping activity by playing ‘race cars’ or ‘chase the bubbles’ before allowing ’free play’ on the slides.   

Download  Let’s Go To The Park - Pittsburg” Flyer (English and Spanish 1.13 MB)

**Read more about the East County Regional Group’s test drive of Pittsburg Parks: What’s the Best Park in Pittsburg? | Take 5 – First 5 Contra Costa Blog

Have fun!!

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