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Saturday August 19th 2017

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ReTHINK Your Drink — Every Sip Counts!

ReThinkYourDrink

A partnership between the Backyard Initiative and the City of Minneapolis

The BYI youth’s interest in reducing sugary drink consumption was ignited by the Teens Entering Existing Networking Systems (TEENS) Project’s (BYI’s youth-oriented Community Health Action Team’s) participation in the City of Minneapolis’ ReThink Your Drink, Every Sip Counts! campaign. The goals of this participation were: (1) expanding the reach of the campaign; (2) strengthening the relationship between the BYI and the Minneapolis Health Department (MHD); (3) increasing the presence of the BYI in the Midtown Global Market (MGM); and (4) continuing to bolster MGM as a community-owned marketplace and gathering space that fosters community health. In support of these goals, five members of the TEENS Project completed a 2-hour training with a MHD staff member and subsequently facilitated 3 health promotion activities in the community. At the project’s end, a member of the TEENS Project spoke to the Minneapolis City Council about the BYI’s experience with the campaign.

This work led to a contract with MHD to conduct a small pilot project (March – June, 2016) in the Midtown Global Market (MGM) to assess a model for working with small business-owners from diverse backgrounds to improve their facility’s beverage environment. Despite the potential negative impact of removing sugary drink products on their bottom line, MGM vendors-Safari Express, Manny’s Torta and Produce Exchange-are participating in the project. Related to but uncompensated by this contract, the BYI is also developing a BYI Healthy Beverage Policy to reduce sugary drinks and promote water in all BYI activities. This work supports the BYI’s broader work in recognizing MGM as a Community Health Zone – i.e. a community-owned space that cultivates health in addition to being a retail space.  For more info: Contact the BYI Resource Center in the MGM: 612-353-6211.

High consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among youth is a challenge for communities across the United States and contributes to chronic conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol among children and adolescents. Further, sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugars in the American diet and, among adolescents, 67% of all sugary drink calories come from soda. The American Heart Association recommends that pre-teens and teens limit their consumption of added sugar to 20 – 32 grams of sugar a day, but teens are consuming up to 136 grams of added sugar daily. A recent study found that people who consume 17% – 21% of their calories from added sugar have a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who consume 8% of their calories from added sugar. This risk was more than double for those who consumed 21% or more of their calories from added sugar. Given these statistics, curbing sugary drink consumption among adolescents is imperative to supporting community health. It is not surprising that sugary drinks saturate the American food supply; they are inexpensive, highly profitable and appeal to consumers whose palates have been highly conditioned by commercial use of added sugars.

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