Representatives from the American Heart Association and Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health recently visited Lampeter-Strasburg High School in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to celebrate the installation of three new water filtration stations. The goal is to encourage students to rethink their drink by making it easier and more appealing for students to drink more water instead of sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks and energy drinks.
“Lowering dietary sugar is an important goal for all Americans and that starts with removing soda, juices and other sugary drinks from our diet,” said Tim Zellers, executive director of the Heart & Vascular Institute at LG Health. “These new water stations promote this change by providing access to water in an environmentally friendly way. Penn Medicine Lancaster General is honored to work with the American Heart Association on this initiative.”
Sugary drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet. The American Heart Association recommends that children have no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars a day and no more than one 8-ounce sugary drink each week. However, children are consuming nearly 10 times that amount of added sugars and nearly two-thirds of youth in the United States consume at least one sugary drink every day. Overconsumption of sugary drinks contributes to early obesity and increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic health conditions. Pennsylvania has the nation’s ninth highest obesity rate among youth ages 10-17, according to the most recent State of Childhood Obesity Report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The water filtration system installation is part of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s support of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good movement and Lancaster Heart Walk. Lancaster General Health has served as a presenting sponsor of the movement since 2013, which has also included the planting of American Heart Association Teaching Gardens at five Lancaster County elementary schools, the establishment of a labeled walking path around Buchanan Park, the placement of bicycle racks at local schools and the installation of three bicycle repair stations around Lancaster County.