Webster Elementary School Students Rethink Their Drinks

The Webster Public School district is committed to promoting and protecting children’s health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. To help support this goal, Framingham State University (FSU) dietetic intern, Karen O’Hare, presented Rethink Your Drink! to the third and fourth graders at Park Ave Elementary School in March and

FSU dietetic intern, Karen O’Hare (right), leading a Rethink Your Drink! lesson for Park Ave Elementary School students.

April 2018. This interactive lesson helped students visualize the amount of sugar in common sugar-sweetened beverages.

The third and fourth grade gym classes learned the difference between natural and added sugars, how to locate sugar on the nutrition facts label, and how to calculate the amount of sugar, in teaspoons, in a beverage. Then, students worked in groups to determine the amount of sugar in beverages such as chocolate milk, sweetened iced tea, soda, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and energy drinks.

Once the activity was complete, the groups shared their findings with the class. The students were surprised to learn that some of their favorite beverages far exceed the amount of added sugar recommended for children. For example, a 20-ounce bottle of a popular lemonade drink has 17 teaspoons of sugar compared to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendation that children should limit added sugar to 6 teaspoons per day!

AHA infographic, “Healthy Kids are Sweet Enough.”

For more resources on sugar solutions for schools, visit the JSI Resource Center for additional information and lesson plans on sugar, added sugar, and artificial sweeteners.

Submitted by: Karen O’Hare,  FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.