The Case for Black With a Capital B



Youth Fighting Fat (Part Two): "Soda-Free Kids"

Part 2 of a three-part series by Talia Whyte


This summer, the Boston Public Health Commission launched its Soda-Free Summer media challenge, which is an effort to call attention to the high caloric and high sugar content of soda and other artificial drinks. Sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) are closely associated with a variety of health ailments in addition to obesity, such as diabetes, liver disease and tooth decay. Bostonians are being encouraged to choose healthier drink options like water, low-fat milk and small portions of 100 percent fruit juices.

According to statistics provided by the Commission, the highest consumers of SSBs are adolescents aged 12 to 19 years old, and particularly males, blacks, Latinos, low income residents and those with a family history of obesity. About half of Boston high school students are either overweight or at-risk of being overweight.

Most of the youth working on the social media project I met for this video said that they didn’t know much about the hazards of SSBs before this summer, but now felt obligated to educate others about making healthier drink choices. Many of them were even very knowledgeable about high fructose corn syrup, a corn sweetener that is ever-present in most industrialized foods and is a major factor in the nation’s high obesity rate.

During my research for this video, I learned a lot about Gatorade and other energy drinks. I am an avid runner, and while I knew that energy drinks were not a healthy drink for physical activity beforehand, learning about the high levels of sugar and caffeine in them put me off to them completely. Also, consuming sparking or carbonated water in large amounts can contribute to reduced calcium levels and higher risk of bone loss.

I guess you are never too old to learn about new things...