These days, many parents and their children know that sugary drinks, including fruit juices, sports drinks, and soda pop, are not good for them and should be avoided. But few know it better than Dr. Sara Bleich and her family. Bleich, an obesity prevention researcher, knows just how bad sugary drinks are for kids; the data are so concerning that she allows her two young children to consume sugary drinks only at parties.
Dr. Bleich explains that, when her children go to parties, they are allowed to choose either a sugary beverage or a piece of cake. To make her point, Bleich shared a story about being at a child’s birthday party where someone said to her: “Your daughter is so funny . . . I offered her juice and she said, ‘can I see the cake first?”
Early Prevention Is Key
Dr. Bleich is passionate about her children’s health, and her passion extends to the health of all children. She has devoted her career to preventing obesity, hoping to help today’s kids grow into healthy adults. “I’m particularly interested in children,” Bleich said, “because little kids who have obesity are likely to have obesity as adults. It’s very hard to stop that trajectory once it starts.”
In fact, research suggests that if current trends continue, a majority (57.3 percent) of today’s children (ages 2-19) will be obese by the time they are 35. “The numbers are just scary,” said Bleich. “Anything that we can do to help kids grow up at a healthy weight is an investment that’s well worth making.”