HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawai’i Health Department is launching its “sweet lies” campaign targeting soft drink manufactures who they say lie on their labeling.
The public service announcement campaign aims at exposing the marketing of sweetened fruit drinks that target keiki.
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Often times, these labels will feature marketing like pictures of fruit and words like juice, natural, and 100% vitamin C. These are all meant to obfuscate the sugar content and make parents believe the drinks are healthy.
According to the DOH, these drinks, which are sweetened fruit drinks, often contain as much if not more sugar than a typical soda. This leads to tooth decay and early weight gain and contributes to chronic diseases, including diabetes.
The DOH said, “Beverages can make up a large portion of a child’s caloric and nutrition intake. The drinks parents and caregivers choose for their children can have a lasting impact. According to the Hawai‘i’s Young Children Health Survey, more than 75 percent of keiki in Hawai‘i consume one or more sweetened fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks or tea drinks daily.”
The DOH used insights and feedback from focus groups made up of parents and grandparents responsible for raising Hawai’i’s keiki. They found that most caretakers did not know that sweetened fruit juice drinks are as full of sugar as a soda pop.
“It was evident during our focus groups that parents and grandparents are trying to make healthy decisions for their keiki,” said Lola Irvin, Department of Health Administrator of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division.
“However, pictures of fruit on packaging and products labeled ‘natural,’ and ‘100% vitamin C’ are deceiving families into thinking sweetened fruit drinks are healthy; when in fact, they are filled with sugar,” explained Irvin.
National and local health experts claim that keiki should not be drinking any sodas or sweetened fruit drink; they stated that water and unflavored milk are the best options for a healthy keiki.
In Hawai’i, the DOH has found that 13.5 percent to 43.5 percent of keiki in Kaua‘i, Nānākuli, Waimānalo, Wailuku, Moloka‘i and Hilo are overweight or obese.
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This campaign hopes to shine a spotlight on what they call deceptive marketing tactics utilized by the beverage industry.