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Say NO to sugary drinks.

A Coca-Cola bottle is seen with other beverages in New York June 23, 2008. Beverage industry executives will gather in New York this week for a major industry conference with concerns that the rising price of corn syrup will put pressure on soda prices. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES) - RTX79K5


In the news from World Cancer Research Fund International, sugary drink companies are now targeting low and middle income countries. Now as you may have noticed, obesity has rapidly grown over the years in the developing world, Kenya included.  As a matter of fact, there are more overweight and obese children in low and middle income countries, than in high-income countries and sugar consumption is a notable contributing factor.

We should worry about the sugar in drinks because the brain doesn’t register it as it does that in food, meaning you are more likely to consume much more sugar in drinks. As such, you need to control it if not avoid it. But here is the thing; Kenya like other developing countries is an emerging market for the sugary drinks industry. See in the west, people have become more aware of the health implications of these drinks and are consuming them less and less.

I now worry about us, but more about our children and adolescents because they are the most vulnerable. Let me ask. What reason do you give to your child as to why she cannot have the soda? Wait, she is probably free to have it when she wants it. Again, do you give them money to get lunch or break or do they pack it? How about you?

Have you seen or heard the adverts of these drinks? They are so exciting, simply awesome. If for no other reason, a teen would get it simply for the message #lovethings. Something else we could be oblivious about is social media. Teens especially live online where so much is being shared, healthy or unhealthy; all which they can freely consume.

Reducing sugar consumption will start with you and your family getting the right information.

Christine Nderitu

Licensed Nutritionist and Public Health Practitioner, Christine, helps people lead healthy lifestyles through health education and behaviour change practices that are simple and practical. She writes a weekly (Monday) nutrition column in the People Daily and is experienced in nutrition management, research, health education and promotion in; HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Maternal and Child Health and Non-Communicable Diseases. She has been engaged in these activities since 2011. Christine feels the world needs more stories that celebrate and normalize desired (good) behaviour. And humanity-we have many preventable and often manmade public health issues today.