The challenge is on
Contest urges Islanders to cut back on sugary drinks
The Heart and Stroke Foundation, in partnership with the P.E.I. Healthy Eating Alliance and go! PEI, is preparing for the February launch of Count Your Cubes: The Sugary Drink Challenge.
Supported by the provincial government’s 2015 P.E.I. Wellness Strategy Grant Initiative, it will encourage Islanders to reduce the amount of sugar they consume in sweetened beverages. The Dental Association of P.E.I. and the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association are also supporting the project by distributing promotional postcards to clients and patients.
Sugary drinks are the largest contributors of sugar in the diet. In P.E.I., 67 per cent of youth reported drinking sweetened, non-nutritious beverages at least once the previous day (School Health Action Planning and Evaluation System Survey, 2012-2013). Sugary drinks and excess sugar consumption are associated with chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
The Count Your Cubes 28-day challenge will encourage people to use a simple tracking calendar to track and reduce the number of sugar cubes they’re consuming in common beverages like pop, juice, sports drinks and vitamin waters.
Kurtis Jay, a Heart and Stroke Foundation volunteer and a Holland College student, knows first-hand the benefits of reducing the consumption of sugary drinks.
“Since cutting out sugary drinks, I have found a big difference in my health. I don’t feel sluggish or constantly thirsty. Consuming fewer sugary drinks and more water also helps me to control my weight, adds to my muscle tone and my overall health in general.”
Count Your Cubes will be launched Feb. 1. For the first week, participants will track how much sugar they are currently drinking, using a chart to count the number of cubes in common beverages like pop, juice and sports drinks. Then over the next three weeks they will attempt to reduce the amount of sugar they drink, week by week. At the conclusion of the challenge, prizes of a $100 Sobeys gift card and two $50 Indigo gift cards will be awarded.
The Chief Public Health Office of the Department of Health and Wellness is supporting this project as one of the Wellness Grants awarded in 2015. One of the goals of the provincial Wellness Strategy is to increase healthy eating behaviours of Islanders and specifically to look at how to decrease added sugar in their diets.
To sign up for the Count Your Cubes Challenge, email email@example.com. For more information on the initiative, visit gopei.ca/challenges.
A young patient and his father receive information about Count Your Cubes at the Belvedere Dental Clinic. From left are Ross Burton, Colton Burton and Dr. Mike Connolly.