Shape Your Future and Rethink Your Drink!

Story by TaNiqua Ward; TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist

Choosing water over sugary drinks supports a healthier weight, body, and brain! 

The Shape Your Future health communication intervention supports the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) strategic plan to reduce the leading causes of death in Oklahoma – cancer and cardiovascular disease.  TSET’s program, grant and research efforts focus on reducing the leading causes of preventable death—obesity and tobacco use—where Oklahomans live, work, learn, and play by making the easy choice, the healthy choice.

Summer is officially here! As the temperature continues to increase it is important for everyone to stay hydrated. Water is one of the essential nutrients involved in the functioning of the body. Proper hydration is vital for allowing the body to perform at its optimal level. This summer, instead of drinking sugary drinks try to drink more water to help support a healthier weight, body, and brain.

The TSET and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) statewide health initiative, Shape Your Future, is sharing new messages on why Oklahomans should Rethink Your Drink and choose water over sugary drinks.

The majority of young adult Oklahomans, ages 18 – 34, drink sugar-sweetened beverages at least once per day – more than any other state in the US, according to the CDC. The amount of sugar consumed by many Oklahoma young adults conservatively adds up to more than 21 million pounds of added sugar per year. 

The Shape Your Future Rethink Your Drink message focuses on simple ways to reduce high obesity rates by increasing awareness of the amount of sugar in sweetened beverages and by highlighting the benefits of drinking water.

“The problem is that many Oklahomans just aren’t aware of how much sugar is hiding in sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Tracey Strader, executive director of TSET. “Many parents believe that drinks like juice boxes and sports drinks are healthy for children. The truth is, these drinks have high amounts of added sugar. Drinking these sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to a variety of adverse health effects, including: weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, as well as liver disease, gout and tooth decay.”

Studies have shown that:

  • Each additional 12-ounce soft drink consumed per day by children increases their odds of becoming obese by 60%.
  • People who consume sugary drinks regularly—1 to 2 cans a day or more—have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Men who drink one can of a sugary beverage per day have a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack.
  • Women who consume a can per day of a sugar-sweetened beverage have a 75% higher risk of gout.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are by far the biggest source of added sugar in the average American’s diet. Soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and juice boxes contain shocking amounts of sugar, with a typical 12-ounce soda containing 10 teaspoons of sugar —or about 10 sugar packets— amounting to 160 calories.

“We hope a newfound knowledge of the high amounts of sugar in these everyday drinks will get adults and children to choose water over sugar-sweetened beverages.” said Miranda Manning, registered dietitian and nutrition coordinator for the OSDH Center for the Advancement of Wellness. “We want to show Oklahomans that choosing water is the healthy – and easy – choice.” 

More information about Rethink Your Drink can be found at There you will find downloadable posters to help spread the word, water intake recommendations, and ideas on how to make your water ‘mouthwatering’. Be sure to incorporate some of these tips to help maintain a healthy lifestyle during the summer.