Sugary drinks are linked with weight gain and tooth decay. They include fizzy drinks, squashes, cordials, juice drinks and energy drinks.
As part of our Childhood Obesity campaign one of our key messages was to replace sugary drinks with water.
The results from our most recent survey are in and they’re positive! We asked parents if their child has a sugary drink every day. 40% of parents said their children drink sugary drinks daily – this is a decrease of 10% across the island since we started the campaign. Plus, more parents reported children consuming water at mealtimes – an increase from 26% to 36% over the last three years.
This positive move has also been reported by the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The HBSC study is carried out in schools in the Republic of Ireland and other European Union countries every four years. Between 1998 and 2014 there has been a reduction in sugary drinks being consumed by Irish school children. While this is hugely positive it is worth remembering that boys continue to drink more sugary drinks than girls and children are drinking more sugary drinks as the enter their teenage years.
So what can we do to help keep this momentum going and continue to reduce the amount of sugary drinks our children have? Here are some tips:
- If your family loves sugary drinks, reduce them gradually
- Start by adding plenty of water to cordials and squashes
- Add extra water each time to squashes and cordials to reduce your child’s taste for sweetness
- Keep sweetened drinks for the weekend
- Water and milk are the best drinks for children at any time
- Make water freely available between meals
- Water is tastier when it’s cold: put a jug of water in the fridge and add a slice of lime, lemon or orange to give it flavour and colour
- It’s ok to have a small glass (150ml) of unsweetened fruit juice once a day – this counts as one serving of fruit and vegetables!
- Always check the label when buying sugary drinks and choose the lower sugar options (4g is approximately 1 teaspoon)
Take a look at our sugary drinks infographic to see the amount of sugar in some popular drinks.