Posted 06/08/2016

Rethink Your DrinkThe "Rethink Your Drink" Challenge was a success," states Susan Burkeen, Murray-Calloway County Wellness Consortium Obesity Workgroup coordinator.  The first campaign for the Wellness Consortium ran from January to March, with many companies and community members participating.

It consisted of a four week challenge that encouraged participants to decrease their sugary drink consumption by half.  Drinks were classified as red, yellow or green based on sugar content per serving. Red drinks consisted of high sugar content such as regular soda; yellow drinks had low to moderate sugar; and green drinks had zero sugar like water and low-fat milk.  Each participant was given a recording tool to track their daily beverage consumption.  Overall, participating Calloway County citizens decreased their sugar intake by 102 pounds during the challenge.  Participants also increased their green drink consumption by 15% over the four week period.  Green drinks, or those with little or no added sugar, are considered healthier option.

There were a total of 297 recording tools completed and returned.  As part of the challenge, hemoglobin A1C, a diabetes screening test, was offered with 364 people participating.  Thirty-five percent of the 364 participants screened were in the pre-diabetes category.  Of the individuals who indicated they had been diagnosed with diabetes, over half exhibited poor blood sugar control. Forty nine participants were screened for pre-challenge results in addition to post-challenge results, which were collected 3 months after the start of the challenge. Of these 49 participants, there was an average 0.4 point decrease noted in the overall Hemoglobin A1C percentages.

A person with pre-diabetes has blood sugar level higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.  He or she is at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke.  Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15% to 30% of people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

If you have pre-diabetes, research shows that doing just two things can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes:  Lose 5% to 7% of your body weight, which would be 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person; and get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, such as brisk walking.

"We chose to do the Rethink Your Drink Challenge as our first campaign of the Lighten Up Calloway series because making small changes in what a person drinks can have a significant impact in overall calorie consumption," said Keena Miller, co-chair of the Wellness Consortium.  "The Obesity Workgroup hopes to reach even more people with our next challenge in the fall."

The Obesity Workgroup is planning a physical activity challenge to begin in fall 2016.  If you are interested in changing our culture, call 270.762.1837.