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Growing Healthy Kids


Krizia Melendez, PhD, MPH, CHES
Health Program Manager, 
[email protected]


Water First For Thirst Campaign

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Promote Water First For Thirst!

Water First for Thirst is more than just a message, it is a movement to make water the easy, appealing, first choice for children and families.


  • Americans consume almost 50 gallons of sugary drinks a year – that equals 38 pounds of sugar!
  • More than 38% of toddlers (age 21-24 months) consumed sugary sweetened beverages at least one time a day in the U.S.
  • Every serving of sugary drinks a child consumes increases his or her chances of becoming overweight or obese by about 60%.
  • For adults, consuming 1 or more sugary drinks each day increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by about 25%.
  • In 2009-2010, about 40% of Ohio’s 3rd graders were consuming 2 or more sugary drinks a day.
  • Soft drinks are the food most strongly linked to increased rates of obesity and risk for diabetes.


Change What You Serve

  • Serve water at events and meetings. Make it visible and easy to reach.
  • Make water freely available to your employees and customers and promote it!
  • Require at least half of beverage vending slots to be filled with water and make water cheaper than other beverages. Download  sample vending contract language.
  • Place water in the most visible location including the most visible vending slots.
  • Limit the portion sizes of sugary drinks that can be sold in your facility.

Commit to Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice

Water First for Thirst Tools


  1. Ogden et all, Consumption of Sugar Drinks on the United States 2005-2008.
  2. SIEGA-RIZ AM; DEMING DM;  REIDY KC; FOX MK; CONDON E; BRIEFEL RR. Food and Consumption Patterns of Infants and Toddlers: Where are we now? J AM Diet Assoc. 2010;110:S38-S51.
  3. Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001; 357: 505-08.
  4. Malik VS, et al. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2010; 33:2477–2483.
  5. Ohio Department of Health, A Report on the Body Mass Index of Ohio’s Third Graders 2004–2010.
  6. Vartanian LR, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health. 2007 Apr;97(4):667-75. Epub 2007 Feb 28.