Did you know that experts predict our children will be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents? You ask, why? Today, children drink more sugar-sweetened beverages than their parents, as children. Too much sugar in the diet, especially in liquid form, has been linked to development of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many more diseases. Sugar-sweetened beverages supply half of the added sugar in the diets of 12-17-year-olds and one-third of the added sugar in diets of 2-5-year-olds. In fact, sugar-sweetened beverages contribute more to the projected shortened life expectancy of our children relative to their parents than unhealthy food intake or lack of exercise.
Every day, I feel very blessed to live in Howard County, whereby public, private and volunteer organizations work together to improve the health and quality of life of its residents. The Horizon Foundation, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Howard County Public School System and People Acting Together in Howard (PATH, an interdenominational group of 14 congregations) are joining together to promote Howard County Unsweetened-Life is Better Here Campaign. The county executive also needs to be applauded for enacting his executive order regarding sugary drinks on county property. He is leading by example.
Those conditions linked to too much sugar in our beverages will continue to drive up the costs of health care: private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and out-of-pocket health expenses. At some point, we may not be able to afford the damage to our health.