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Tide turning to water as drink of choice

Sixty students at Sonrise Christian Academy in Picton participated in a 'Water Does Wonders' initiative to promote water as the beverage of choice to stay healthy and hydrated. Students were offered tastes of water flavoured with fruit and vegetables by Hastings Prince Edward Kids Community Challenge project manager Emma Pillsworth.

Sixty students at Sonrise Christian Academy in Picton participated in a ‘Water Does Wonders’ initiative to promote water as the beverage of choice to stay healthy and hydrated. Students were offered tastes of water flavoured with fruit and vegetables by Hastings Prince Edward Kids Community Challenge project manager Emma Pillsworth.

Juice is getting squeezed out of the healthy eating plan, along with other sugar-filled beverages, and dairy stays approved though the oncoming wave is to water as the healthy drink of choice.

Emma Pillsworth explains the benefits of water over sugary drinks.

Emma Pillsworth explains the benefits of water over sugary drinks.

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has joined the province’s Healthy Kids Community Challenge by partnering with local elementary schools to promote the benefits of drinking water.

Thirty schools in the region took on the “Healthy Kids School Pledge” promising dedication throughout the month October and beyond to promote water as the beverage of choice to stay healthy and hydrated.

Water Month is a second theme of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, ‘Water Does Wonders’ initiative to increase awareness about the importance of drinking water as a healthy alternative to sugary drinks. The theme began in July and is to continue through to March, 2017.

“Water is essential to keeping kids’ bodies working and growing properly,” said Emma Pillsworth, Local Project Manager for the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Hastings Prince Edward. “Making healthy drink choices will help kids to build and maintain a healthy body and mind, which can help them both feel better, and perform better at school.”

As for juice filled with natural sugars, she notes people are far better off to eat the whole fruit itself.

The Make Healthy Drink Choices! the promotion recommends: Stop, Slow and Go.
Stop: Limit pop, slushies, sports drinks, vitamin water and fruit-flavoured drinks to one cup per week.
Slow: For 100 per cent juice, have no more than a half cup per day. For others such as sweetened and fortified soy beverages, rice, hemp, flax, almond and chocolate milk, have up to three cups per week.
Go: Sip water throughout the day. For other green light drinks such as skim, 1 per cent and 2 per cent milk and unsweetened fortified soy beverages, have two cups per day.

Pillsworth notes dietary preferences are established between the ages of zero and four, laying the foundation for eating habits later in life. Research has shown that when children are used to consuming water at a young age, they are more likely to drink water later in life.

“Water makes up more than half of a child’s body weight, which means water is essential to keep their bodies working and growing properly.”

All elementary schools throughout Hastings and Prince Edward counties received a variety of promotional items from the challenge including: posters, decorations, classroom activity packages and video and water dispensers to set up a flavoured water tasting area.

Every student in the two counties was to receive a Water Does Wonders water bottle with an accompanying bookmark and flavoured water recipe cards, regardless of whether their school has taken the Healthy Kids School Pledge.

Hastings and Prince Edward counties was among 44 other communities across Ontario taking part in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge.

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Public Health is receiving up to $1,125,000 over three years from the Ontario government to fund the Healthy Kids Community Challenge.

Theme one of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge was Run. Jump. Play. Every Day. Initiatives included a series of professional development days for educators and recreation leaders, physical literacy nights for parents, and equipment give-aways.

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