OPINION: Updated: Ms. Michaela Jellicoe clarified, King County Public Health, did not submitt this information on obesity in response to a story on the Evergreen Hospital Property Tax Levy. Obesity in youth contributes to high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and tooth decay. Each year, King County spends $500 million for costs related to obesity. It's hopeful the Evergreen Commission will acknowledge a need for community care and awareness of this chronic condition with levy-dollar funding.
Thanksgiving and the December holidays are fast-approaching. During the holiday season, kids and grown-ups typically consume more candy and desserts. Many parents are concerned about how many sweets their children may eat in the upcoming months.
Few parents realize that, in addition to baked goods and candy, sugar-loaded beverages such as soda, sports beverages, energy drinks and sweetened fruit drinks also pose hidden health risks for kids. These risks include contributing to being overweight or obese, Type 2 diabetes, tooth decay and high blood pressure.
Children who drink two or more sugar-loaded beverages a day are more likely to be overweight than kids who consume healthier alternatives such as low-fat milk or water. A 20-ounce bottle of soda has more than 15 teaspoons of sugar and 240 calories. It is no wonder that one in three children in middle and high school locally is overweight or obese — and the number is growing.
Over the years, sugar-loaded beverages have become easily available to kids. Since the mid-1990s, the consumption of sugared beverages for 2-18 year olds has surpassed milk — putting youth at risk for osteoporosis and brittle bones. Each year, King County spends $500 million for costs related to obesity.
Opinion by Bob Yoder
on Behalf of Public Health – Seattle & King County