Drop the Pop

Drop the Pop NWT

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Drinking Water is the Way to Go

Water is so important to health that our bodies would stop working properly without it. Water makes up more than half of our body weight so a person can't survive for more than a few days without it. Our blood contains a lot of water and carries oxygen to all the cells in our bodies. Our bodies also get water from fluids such as milk, which is among the best choices for healthy growth and development. Fruits and vegetables also contain a lot of water along with many other nutrients.

Adapted from: http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/water.html

How Much Water Is Enough?

There is no exact recommended amount of water we need to drink each day, but water does go great with meals and snacks and does the best job of quenching our thirst. When the weather is hot, the buildings are warm and we are exercising, we need more water. Generally, it is a good idea to drink extra water before, during and after exercising and/or playing sports. Take a reusable water bottle with you so you don't have to use plastic water bottles.

Dehydration happens when your body does not have enough water. This can slow you down in learning at school or playing sports. In severe cases, dehydration can make you very sick. Keep a reusable water bottle handy. Not only does water fight dehydration, but it is refreshing and has no calories.

Stay properly hydrated by drinking water instead of sugary drinks, which often make you want to drink more of this. Our bodies can hold on to water or get rid of it if you have too much. If pee is a light yellow colour, it's because the body is getting rid of excess water. When your pee is very dark yellow, the body is holding on to water. If you are thirsty, your body is signaling that you are dehydrated.

Adapted from: http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/water.html

What's the big deal with Pop?

Childhood obesity is on the rise, as are diseases linked to excess weight such as Type 2 diabetes, cancers and heart diseases (these are some of the leading causes of death in the north). It is estimated that more than 1 in 4 children in Canada is either overweight or obese.

According to Statistics Canada, sweetened beverage consumption increases with age, especially for regular soft drinks. By ages 14 - 18, 53% of boys and 35% of girls consume soft drinks daily.

The table below shows beverage consumption among Grades 6 - 8 and Grades 9 and 10 students in the NWT. Information was taken from the Health and Health-Related Behaviours Among Young People in the Northwest Territories (2012) report.

Age Groups

Males

Females

Grades 6 - 8

NWT

Canada

NWT

Canada

Soft drinks with sugar

14%

13%

11%

8%

Energy drinks

4%

3%

3%

2%

Grades 9 - 10

 

 

 

 

Soft drinks with sugar

18%

18%

14%

11%

Energy drinks

5%

4%

2%

1%

Some research shows a direct link between sugary beverages and being overweight. And, there is a definite link between too many sweet foods and drinks and poor dental health.

A podcast is available that discusses how sugar-sweetened drinks lead to excessive weight gain. It also encourages drinking water instead of sugary drinks: http://www2c.cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=7583393

Also, the Yale Rudd Centre Healthy Beverage Campaign powerpoint provides information on programs and initiatives to promote healthy beverages such as water:  http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/policy/SSBTaxes/Healthy_Beverage_Campaigns.ppt

Adapted from: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html 

What's the Big Deal about Energy Drinks?

The World Health Organization recently released a report on the negative effects of energy drinks on our health. Caffeine is the main ingredient in energy drinks and causes the most health concerns for children. Each can of some energy drinks can contain as much caffeine as five cups of coffee! Excess caffeine intake by children can lead to high blood pressure, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting and convulsions.

The United States National Poison Data System receives many calls regarding the side effects of mixing energy drinks with alcohol. Mixing drinks with alcohol is also linked to increases in smoking, illicit drug use, sexual risk taking, and other risky behaviours.

Adapted from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283929.php

What about Dental Health and Sugary Drinks?

Dental caries (cavities) is associated with toothache, missing school, and problems with daily life activities (eating, smiling and sleeping). Children with poor oral and general health are about twice as likely to report poor school performance and three times more likely to miss school as a result of pain caused by cavities. Not only are cavities painful and preventable, it is very expensive to fix and pull teeth. Preventing treatments costs has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for children and youth and save our limited health care resources over the long-term.

On the other hand, good dental health can have a positive effect on Northwest Territories children. Good oral health starts early in life (even before we are born) with healthy eating, brushing and flossing habits of parents that they pass on to their children.

Adapted from: http://www.hss.gov.nt.ca/publications/reports/brushing-oral-health-northwest-territories-2014

What's Wrong with Bottled Water?

In the NWT, residents are very fortunate to have access to clean, safe drinking water. Despite this fact, many people buy bottled water that is imported from the south or even other countries. Here are some facts that may surprise you:

  • It is expensive: a typical price for a 1 liter bottle vs. tap water:
    Bottled Water Tap Water
    $2.00 - $2.75 $0.01
  • It is wasteful: although NWT residents recycled about 85% of their single-use containers in 2008-2009, recycled bottles end up in materials that do not get recycled again. Environmentally, we know it is much better to reduce our use of plastic in the first place than to recycle it.
  • Not environmentally friendly: it takes oil to manufacture plastic water bottles and to transport them from southern Canada. It takes 2L of water just to make a 1L plastic water bottle.

Adapted from: www.ecologynorth.ca Behind the Bottle.

Have there been any positive changes and actions with pop or bottled water?

Here are a few examples of actions taken by organizations that are very positive:

  • As far as we know, all schools have now 'dropped the pop' - so most schools now have no pop and other sugary drinks in their vending machines, or sold/served at school events.
  • Over the years, schools have used the 'Drop the Pop' funding for a wide range of excellent projects that promote healthy eating, healthy drinks, traditional foods, teas. All of these activities have increased the awareness about the harmful effects of sugary beverage consumption in schools and communities.
  • The Department of Health and Social Services no longer has a pop vending machine in our premises!
  • On June 1, 2009, the NWT Legislative Assembly "dropped the pop" and ditched disposable water bottles. The Legislative Assembly does not sell, purchase or distribute bottled water or pop, including at catered meetings or public functions.
  • In 2009, the NWT Association of Communities passed a resolution which urged NWT municipalities to phase out bottled water at their facilities where appropriate and where safe drinking water is available.

Nunavut and the Yukon partner with us to drop the pop in favour of healthier beverages.