“Water is Best” is the message the Whanganui District Health Board wants to be spread throughout its children’s and maternity wards at the hospital.

It wants patients, family members, visitors and ward staff to all say no to sugary drinks and choose water at hospital, and at home.

“We know parents like to bring treats in for their children but when those treats include sugary drinks, we want to raise awareness about the damage that sugary drinks can do to their child’s teeth and long-term health,” said the DHB’s Oral Health project manager, Felicity Spencer.

Drinks often considered “healthy”, said Spencer, contained large amounts of sugar.

“A glass of juice contains about 6.5 teaspoons of sugar, and a bottle of sports drink about 14 teaspoons.

“It is recommended that children have no more than six teaspoons of added sugar in their diets per day,” she said.

The council is going to give the first 100 children admitted to the hospital from August a gift bag including a water bottle, toothbrush and some toothpaste.

“As a DHB, it’s important we show leadership in providing and encouraging healthier food and drinks. It’s well known that many people end up in hospital with diseases resulting from what they eat and drink,” Spencer said.

She said healthy choices need to start from a young age in order to prevent things like tooth decay and obesity.

Source: Wanganui Chronicle

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