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 Why is Howard County doing the “Soda-Free 30” pledge?


Howard County strives to be a model local public health community. Turning the tide of childhood and adult obesity and related chronic diseases is one of Howard County’s top public health priorities. The obesity epidemic in the United States is perhaps the most serious public health threat of our time. Obesity is a health indicator determined by Body Mass Index (“BMI”) measurements. National statistics show that adult obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years, while obesity prevalence among children has doubled, tripled, even quintupled among various age groups of children in that time. Soda is part of the larger nutritional category often called “sugar-sweetened beverages.” When it comes to the connection between these drinks and your health, the research is clear: Sugary drinks play a huge role in America’s obesity epidemic. The majority of Americans drink them every day. The average American consumes 50 gallons of soda each year. Each 20-ounce serving of sugary beverage contains 17 teaspoons of sugar.

The CDC’s national survey of Americans nutritional status found that soda and other “sugar-sweetened beverages” such as energy drinks, sports drinks, and sugary fruit drinks contribute HALF (46%) of all excess sugar in the daily diet of Americans ages 2 and older. The national obesity epidemic is fueled by the high daily consumption of excess sugar and super-sized portions typical in most American diets.

Obesity is such a huge and complex issue. Will going soda-free for 30 days really make a difference?


Yes, going soda-free really can help, even in 30 days! There are many confusing and misleading messages about nutrition and disease prevention these days. But there is nothing confusing about this. Soda and other sugary beverages do nothing to help your health. Actually, drinking them causes weight gain and increases the risk for obesity, and many diseases. And the risks are equally serious for children and adults. According to the CDC, on a typical day, 80% of youth and 63% of adults consume sugary drinks. Children’s risk for becoming obese increases by 60% with each extra serving of sugar-sweetened beverage consumed per day. In other words, every day you go soda-free is a healthier day under your belt and an investment in a healthy future.

What’s so bad about soda?


While soda is not the only sugary drink contributing to obesity and disease in our country and our community, it is a big player. Soda contains ingredients with no nutritional value and known for potential health risks. These include: excess sugar, empty calories, sodium benzoate, phosphoric acid, BPA, and high fructose corn syrup.
Soda consumption is linked to many negative health effects, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, tooth decay, , osteoporosis, chemical exposure, kidney stones, and hormonal problems.

One more thing - soda costs money. Do you really want to pay for poor health? Of course not.

Taking the Soda-Free 30 pledge is a simple way to save your money today and your health tomorrow!  














When does “Soda-Free 30” start?


The pledge period kicks off on October 20 and ends on November 18. The time is now!

Why now?


 Before the holiday season is a great time to take a health challenge like the “Soda-Free 30’ pledge. The obesity epidemic is getting worse every year. We can’t afford inaction. All of us suffer the consequences of obesity and the burden of chronic diseases Children need positive role models to learn healthy behaviors -in schools, child care, at home, and throughout their communities. Who says resolutions have to wait for the New Year?

Why 30 days?


Research shows that it takes 21 days for behavior change to take hold in our daily lives. We extended the pledge period to thirty days to create a community health challenge that is both long enough for people to notice the benefits, but not so long that we risk losing participation over time. This is a campaign designed for everyone’s success. All of us can make the commitment to go soda-free for 30 days. It is a simple but powerful step towards better health. 

OK. I’m in! How can I participate? 


Take the pledge. CLICK HERE. Encourage your friends, coworkers, and family to take the pledge. 
Grown-ups: Be a role model for children and young people.

  • Take the pledge. CLICK HERE.  Encourage your friends, coworkers, and family to take the pledge.  
  • Grown-ups: Be a role model for children and young people.  
  • Young people: Be a role model for your peers.  
  • Be a smart consumer. Don’t be fooled by advertisements for the yucky stuff– save your money today and your health tomorrow!   
  • Fuel your body with the good stuff – healthy drinks like water, non/lowfat milk, 100% fruit juice, and unsweetened tea and coffee. And remember your fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy foods as well. 
  •  Click here to like us on Facebook – “Soda-Free 30 Howard County 
  • Keep it up. You don’t have to stop when the pledge period ends.  

How can I learn more about making healthy nutritional choices?


• 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (January 2011) LINK
• The CDC Guide to Strategies for Reducing the Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (March 2010) Download PDF
• Let’s Move! http://www.letsmove.gov/ • MyPlate www.ChooseMyPlate.gov • Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity, Institute of Medicine (2009) LINK • Healthy Howard, Inc. www.healthyhowardmd.org