By: Ashmar Mandou
Saint Anthony Hospital Pediatrician Dr. Alejandro Clavier is on a mission to eliminate the consumption of soft drinks and unhealthy foods in the homes of Latino families across the city. “We need to completely change our eating habits if we want to beat obesity,” said Dr. Clavier. Nearly half of all Latino children in the U.S. born after 2000 will go on to develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes mostly due to physical inactivity and unhealthy eating. “Water should be a child’s best friend. There are no nutritional benefits in drinking sugary drinks. In order for children to grow to become healthy adults we need to break bad habits and get children drinking water or homemade juices with no sugar. Sugary drinks are detrimental to health.” Dr. Clavier shared his thoughts on the benefit of eating healthy and his passion for promoting the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Act.
Water is the healthiest option to giver to our children, instead of sugar drinks. Actually, water is the only option if we want our children to beat obesity and avoid diabetes. There are dangerous amounts of sugar in our drinks now that children are becoming increasingly sick and overweight. I tell my patients that if they can remember one thing remember to drink water. I understand that sometimes we give in to our children and give them what we feel will make them happy, but we need to be more active in our decision making process. We need to remember that nothing is worth sacrificing their health. Eliminate all the soft drinks or sugary juices in your house and replace them with bottles of water. By taking that first step you will see a noticeable difference.
I support acts like the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Act, which, through a penny per ounce tax on sugar drinks, is projected to raise $600 million in its first year with the money invested in supporting Medicaid and community wellness. Steps are being made, but we need to work together from all fronts, the policy side, community, schools to really combat obesity.
What families can do together, aside from consuming water is exercise. You don’t necessarily have to join a gym to keep active. Cleaning the house together, walking up and down the stairs, playing games, even walking up and down your block keeps the heart pumping. The point is to not live a sedentary life. Remaining inactive while eating unhealthy is a dangerous combination, especially if diabetes runs in the family. Talk together as a family, cook together, move together, and talk with your physician on how you can take healthy measures to live long