The first phase of our Sugar Bites campaign is winding down and so far we’ve made quite an impresssion.
The purpose of Sugar Bites, which we launched in May with Healthy and Active Before 5, is to inform parents about the dangerous health effects of sugary drink consumption and encourage them to serve their toddlers and preschoolers water instead.
Our bilingual campaign consisted of ads displayed on local bus shelters, BART stations, check-cashing facilities, and 50 convenience stores located in Bay Point, Concord, Pittsburg, Richmond, and San Pablo, the new cutsugarydrinks.org website, and distribution of 40,000 brochures throughout the county.
Phase I of our campaign may almost be over, but that doesn’t mean we’re done. A study released last week reinforces why our Sugar Bites message is so important. The study revealed that daily consumption of sugary drinks, such as soda, juice drinks, and sport drinks, leads to obesity in preschool-age children.
The following day, the CDC released encouraging data showing a slight decline in obesity rates among low-income preschoolers – the first decline in decades. California’s rate decreased from 17.3% to 16.8%. While the CDC couldn’t say for sure why rates are declining, some possibilities include higher breastfeeding rates and new WIC policies which no longer allow the inclusion of juice in infant food packages.
Interestingly enough, the campaign’s focus on juice is one reason Sugar Bites received so much attention – from both parents and health advocates alike. Anecdotally, parents told us they weren’t aware of the high sugar content and low nutritional value in many sugary juice drinks.
A survey we conducted of parents before launching Sugar Bites supports this, with three out of four parents reporting they had served their kids juice or a fruit drink the day before. This is not surprising given the way juice drinks are endlessly marketed as healthful by the beverage industry.
And that’s why more sugary juice drinks will receive the Sugar Bites treatment in Phase II of the campaign. Look for new ads this spring! In the meantime, pour yourself a glass of water and enjoy some Sugar Bites highlights from our summer campaign: