Fruit juice and childhood obesity

Parents’ new No. 1 worry–and the surprisingly simple solution

When I talk about the dangers of sugar, I’m not singling anyone out: The message applies to everyone–skinny, fat, or something in between…old and young. And that brings me to today’s topic…one that I find the most troubling. Childhood obesity.  And I’m not the only one who’s troubled by this increasing epidemic.

According to a recent survey, obesity is the leading concern amongst parents for their children. It beat out drugs, teen pregnancy, smoking, and alcohol.

The saddest part is that, as the survey showed, parents are aware and concerned–yet, they’re getting tired of hearing the message, because no one is offering any practical advice they can use to help their kids. In other words, they simply don’t know what to do.

So, let’s change that, starting now. Here’s one of the simplest things you can do to protect your child from obesity and all the health dangers that go with it (including diabetes):

Get rid of the fruit juices they consume.

Why do I pick on fruit juice? Isn’t soda worse? Well, the chemicals in soda are certainly worse (and it goes without saying that kids shouldn’t be drinking it–no one should, for that matter). But the fact is, ounce for ounce, apple juice has more sugar in it than Coke. Plus, there have been countless studies showing a direct link between the amount of fruit juice a child consumes and their risk for diabetes.

Of course, if your child drinks a lot of juice, you might have a potential mutiny on your hands if, all of a sudden, it becomes “off limits.” So it’s always a good idea to have some fun alternatives to offer instead.

Water flavored with mint and a few berries is a simple, easy option. And iced, decaf, herbal teas are a big hit with kids, too–and there are literally dozens of varieties to choose from in any grocery store. Let them pick a couple of flavors to try and they’ll be so excited about it they won’t even notice there’s no more juice in the fridge.

And as an added bonus, cleaning up the beverage selection in the house won’t just improve your kids’ health–it’s a gift the whole family will benefit from.