Health Check: Limiting your child's sugar intake
If you take a stroll through the beverage aisle at the grocery store, it's not hard to spot an assortment of sugary drinks in bright packaging featuring characters that appeal to children.

But it's not just the marketing that's appealing.

"I think the biggest problem is they taste good," said Alise McGregor, owner of Little Newtons, a childcare center in Plymouth.

At Little Newtons, you'll find attentive students who follow directions, and participate in class discussions. But something you won't find is the presence of sugary drinks.

"We provide the catering and we provide the liquid, and so we do water and milk," McGregor said. "And the biggest thing is that's just easiest, and it's the healthiest."

When snack time comes around, the children have no issues drinking milk out of tiny paper cups. It's one of the ways to limit the kids' sugar intake at a time when the CDC says 30 percent of children in the U.S. consumed more than two sugary drinks a day.

"What did surprise me was that those that have two sugary drinks a day, that's ten percent of their caloric intake," McGregor said.

U.S. dietary guidelines suggest that if 10 percent of your daily calories come from added sugar, then it's too high, and it can lead to weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, and cavities in children.

"As a parent, you're providing them with their lifestyle for the rest of their life, and so if you can get them to be healthy at a younger age, they're more likely to continue those habits as they continue to grow," McGregor said.

The staff members at Little Newton's are doing their part to provide healthy alternatives and keep kids from getting that sugar rush. Besides, sometimes all the kids need is a little music from Justin Timberlake to get them going.

Meanwhile, if children are used to drinking juice, parents can dry diluting the sugary drinks with water. And if they're used to soda, parents can switch that out with sparkling water.

Delane Cleveland

Feb. 7, 2017

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