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RETHINKING FOOD AND DRINK FOR HEALTHIER SUMMER! -by Carol Statter, President and Wellness Chair Mobile SHRM

    August 17, 2015


    by Carol Statter, President and Wellness Chair Mobile SHRM


    “Eat less. Move more.”  Four little words I’ve heard repeated during one of the many weight loss programs I have participated in over the years – “participated” being the operative word. I enter these programs and lose weight only to gain it back at a much faster rate than I lost it. For years, I have been fighting a losing battle, no pun intended, because I have not changed my habits.


    Apparently, I am not the only citizen in the state of Alabama facing this problem. In 2005, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported Alabama’s obesity rate at 25%, making Alabama one of four states with the highest rate of obesity in the country.  The department considered that rate an indicator of a worsening obesity epidemic.  County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, reports that Alabama’s current obesity rate has increased to 33%.  Unfortunately the 2005 indicator was correct.


    By now, we should all know that obesity can lead to a variety of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, lost time at work, poor quality of life and premature death.  From a business perspective, obesity is not just a health issue but a workforce issue as well.


    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that no matter what diet we try, we must take in fewer calories than our bodies use to lose weight. Most people try to lose weight by focusing on the calories they EAT. Another way to cut calories may be as simple as thinking about what you DRINK.  In 2011, the CDC introduced a simple program called Rethink Your Drink.  The program information states that people often do not realize just how many calories are in the beverages they drink each day.  Calories from drinks can really add up.  But the good news is that calories in drinks are not hidden. They are listed right on the product’s nutrition label.  Read your labels!


    Think about a day’s worth of sugary drinks. For breakfast, someone stops at a coffee shop and orders a medium cafe¢ latte (16 ounces) made with whole milk, starting her day with 265 calories.  For lunch, she grabs a 20-ounce bottle of non-diet cola for 227 calories.  Then she makes a visit to the vending machine for an afternoon pick-me-up of a 16 ounce sweetened ice tea for 180 calories. For dinner, she adds another soda giving her a total of almost 900 calories for the day without eating any solid food.


    Gradual changes may be more tolerable and will help break old habits. Here are some suggestions from the Rethink Your Drink campaign to help make smarter beverage choices:

    • Choose water, diet, or low-calorie beverages instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
    • For a quick, easy, and inexpensive thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.  (This is your best bet.)
    • Don’t “stock the fridge” with sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water in the refrigerator.
    • Serve water with meals.
    • Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
    • Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
    • Be a role model for your friends and family by choosing healthy, low-calorie beverages.


    You can find more information on achieving and maintaining healthy weight along with a Rethink Your Drink brochure at