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September 13, 2022

Louisville Proclaims September to be “Sugary Drink-Free”

Boulder County, Colo. — The Louisville community has proclaimed September to be “Sugary Drink-Free” and residents have been challenged to give up sugary drinks for the month.

Participants will receive weekly emailed tips and reminders, are entered to win a free SodaStream or Hydro Flask and are invited to a celebration at the Waterloo at the end of the month.

The Healthy Louisville Kids coalition is a group of individuals, businesses and organizations committed to promoting children’s health in Louisville. Members include Boulder County Public Health, Clinica, Dental Aid, Community Food Share, Moxie Bread Company, The Chef Ann Foundation and other local organizations.

The coalition is focused on reducing the consumption of sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks because these beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet and are a major contributor to chronic disease for children and adults alike.

“Obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease are not just affecting Colorado adults but our young people too, and high fructose and added sugar in our food and drinks are a major culprit,” said coalition member Dr. Seth Kramer, a Louisville physician. “Prevention is key in decreasing the rates of chronic disease.”

Children who drink at least one sugary beverage a day are roughly 30% more likely to die from a heart attack, 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and 55% more likely to be overweight or obese.

“Sugary drinks are a major factor that contribute to unhealthy weight and chronic disease,” said Lexi Nolen, Boulder County Public Health Interim Executive Director. “Efforts like this one that encourage people to replace sugary drinks with tasty, healthier options are important to our community’s health and are especially important for children.”

Over a quarter (26.6%) of Boulder County children ages 5-14 years old are overweight or obese, a 43% increase since 2003. Additionally, Latino/Hispanic youth are disproportionately impacted with 28% of Latino/Hispanic high school students overweight or obese compared with 9.7% of white high school students. This disparity is the result of targeted marketing by the beverage industry.

These trends prompted the Boulder County Board of Health to proclaim childhood obesity a public health emergency in 2019.

The coalition is partnering with the Louisville Public Library to show a series of documentaries about the harms of sugar and sugary drinks over the course of the next few months. The first screening will be on Monday, Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at 951 Spruce St. in Louisville and will feature the documentary “Fed Up.” A free dinner from Verde will be served and afterwards panelists, including Dr. Seth Kramer, will lead a discussion. Everyone in the community is welcome to attend and no registration is necessary.

Sign up for the Sugary Drink-Free September challenge: boco.org/SugaryDrinkFreeSept.

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