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Latino kids drink more sugary drinks than their white peers, but campaigns promoting water over sugary drinks can help change this. One of the most recognizable nutrition campaigns across the country is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate graphic, which shows the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. But what about encouraging water consumption?
A group of scientists have come together to petition the USDA to add a circle for water on the MyPlate graphic.
“Consumption of sugary beverages is the leading contributor to added sugar in the American diet,” says Christina Hecht, senior policy adviser at the UC Nutrition Policy Institute and one of the water advocates, in a NPR article. “If people could make that one change to drink water to quench their thirst instead of sugar beverages, that would solve a big piece of the problem.”
Hecht, along with Kelly Brownell of Duke University and Barry Popkin of the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently submitted a letter to a USDA panel making the case for including stronger language on water as a substitute for soda and other sugary beverages, and for the addition of the water symbol.
The next step, Hecht says, is to wait for the report, and if it does call for changes to how the guidelines treat beverages, then she and her fellow advocates will try to mobilize comments in favor of the water icon. Their hope is that later this year, the USDA will agree to the suggested changes to the graphic.