Ban your children from soda - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Ban your children from soda


HoCo Unsweetened

At the pools in Columbia, Maryland this summer a bunch of people  were speaking my language. Not British English, but healthy American English. They were the guys and girls promoting HoCo Unsweetened – a team of people helping folks in the community make better choices about what they eat and specifically, drink.

downloadIan Kennedy, director of communications, explains their goals: “More and more moms and dads are becoming concerned about sugary drinks — the empty calories, the long-term impact on kids’ tastes, the potential for obesity. It’s just frightening. So we’re trying to do something about it in Howard County, and our HoCo Unsweetened website is part of that effort. The idea is simple: We want to make it easier for parents to serve the best stuff they can to their kids.”

Labels should reveal sugar content in drinks.

Labels should reveal sugar content in drinks.

They’ve started by building the Better Choices Coalition of Howard County, which is working to fill the county’s public spaces with better drink choices instead of having them dominated by sugary drinks. There’s a lot of other stuff here too, like the The Daily Conundrum, which chronicles the challenges of keeping kids healthy, and tips, like how to read a drink label and how to make spa water.

Ian adds: “That’s why we have the Better Beverage Finder, which lets you search for beverage choices any mother can love and find where you can get them in Howard County.”

The Horizon Foundation is leading the effort, but there are a ton of other organizations involved. HoCo Unsweetened are also getting a bunch of guidance from the experts at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University.


And here’s a bit more about the Horizon Foundation:

“The Horizon Foundation is an independent philanthropy dedicated to improving the health and wellness of people living or working in Howard County, Maryland. We invest in strategic grants and initiatives that achieve the greatest impact.  We also build partnerships and advocate for public policy changes that advance our mission.Since 1998, Horizon has invested more than $35 million in community programs, including grants to nearly 200 organizations serving the county, from after-school programs to faith-based organizations to health care providers. We have also spearheaded numerous successful projects, including bringing a federally qualified health center to the county and developing a nationally recognized community emergency response plan.”

So, next time you to go put a soda in your kid’s hand…think twice!

We actually banned our son from having soda this summer and it made a world of difference. It was his first major punishment and it saved us a fortune too! He’s now not bothered about it all, and simply asks for water. Great!


About the author

Claire Bolden

Claire Bolden McGill is a British expat who lived in Maryland for three years and moved back to the UK in August 2015. Claire wrote about her life as a British expat on the East Coast and now works in travel and hospitality PR in the UK. She still finds time to blog about her repatriation and the reverse culture shock that ensued - and she still hasn't finished that novel, but she's working on it. You can contact Claire via twitter on @clairebmcgill or via her blog From America to England. Contact the author.
  • MaureenABA

    When it comes to health and weight management, balancing
    total calorie intake with physical activity is key. Beverages can be a part of
    a healthy, active lifestyle – and the beverage industry has made great strides
    with respect to the beverage choices available in our nation’s schools.
    Starting in 2006, we instituted national School Beverage Guidelines – and
    effectively reduced the number of beverage calories shipped to schools by 90%: – Maureen at American Beverage Association

    • ukhousewifeusa

      This is good to know. The more that can be done to ensure nutrition and healthy lifestyles are sought, the better :)