More than 60,000 Virginians will participate in the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s day of action to raise awareness about the contents of popular sugary drinks
RICHMOND – On Wednesday, May 13, students, teachers, youth activists, community organizations and health advocates statewide will pose a simple question to more than 60,000 Virginians across the state: Do you know what’s hidden in your drink?
This question will be echoed at more than 300 events across Virginia in celebration of the third annual Rev Your Bev Day – part of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s initiative to raise awareness about the contents of sugary drinks.
“Data collected from Rev Your Bev Day since 2013 has revealed that one in three Virginians, both youth and adults, drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage each day,” says Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Obesity Prevention Coordinator Heidi Hertz. “This underscores the need for continued education on sugary drinks and alternative healthy options.”
Schools, organizations, and businesses participating in Rev Your Bev Day this year will also assist in a statewide data collection project being conducted by Y Street, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s award-winning teen volunteer group for high school students.
Since 2013, more than 15,000 surveys have been collected at more than 420 events statewide to gauge Virginians’ knowledge and opinions about sugary drinks. According to the surveys:
· Young people are most likely to consume sugar-sweetened beverages, with more than one-third (35%) of 5- to 19-year-olds consuming at least one sugary drink per day.
· Only half (51%) of respondents could correctly identify beverages sweetened with sugar.
· 69% of respondents did not know they could gain 25 pounds from drinking just one 20-ounce soda daily for a year.
· Respondents in the Southwest region of Virginia drink the most sugar-sweetened beverages, but are less likely to think they drink too many.
Sugary drinks remain the top source of sugar and calories in Americans’ diets, despite the health impacts; for every additional sugar-sweetened beverage consumed per day, a child’s risk of becoming overweight increases by 60 percent.
Y Street will once again serve as an important partner for Rev Your Bev Day. In addition to hosting numerous Rev Your Bev Day events, Y Street members representing all regions of Virginia will be working to educate their peers about the hidden sugar in popular drinks and inspire them to make healthy beverage choices in the future.
“I know many people who have suffered from diabetes and other health effects from drinking sugary beverages. I want to help prevent other people from suffering those same negative health effects,” says Y Street volunteer Hannah Chichester, 16, a student at Skyline High School in Front Royal.
To learn more about Rev Your Bev Day and to see a full list of events statewide, visit RevYourBev.com.
About the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY)
Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1999, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth empowers Virginia’s youth to make healthy choices by promoting active, nutritious and tobacco-free living. Since the Foundation began its work in 2001, high school smoking in Virginia has been cut by more than 60 percent and the number of middle school smokers has dropped by more than 75 percent! The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth directly reaches about 50,000 children each year through classroom-based prevention programs in public schools, after-school programs, community centers, day cares and prevention programs across the state. VFHY’s award-winning marketing campaigns deliver prevention messaging to more than 500,000 children annually. For more information, visit VFHY.org.
About Y Street
Started in 2004, Y Street is the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s teen volunteer group for high school students. Y Street youth work on obesity and tobacco-use prevention to help create a healthier Virginia. Y Street members have been invited to testify before the FDA and have worked on public health issues with top government officials, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services,
Virginia’s Governor, and Virginia’s Attorney General. Since 2004, almost 8,000 teens statewide have participated in Y Street. For more information, visit YStreet.org.