"We are in the midst of a youth diabetes epidemic that is perpetuated by all of these sugary drinks," said Harold Goldstein, one of the report's authors and the executive director at the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
Research cited in the policy brief found that the percent of children under the age of 12 who drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage per day dropped between 2005 and 2012, however sugar beverage consumption increased among adolescents. Even in groups where sugar-sweetened beverage consumption declined between 2000 and 2010, the drinks continue to be a significant contributor to total caloric intake, especially for children and adolescents.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Andrew Creasey noted in the story that UC Cooperative Extension in Yuba and Sutter counties is helping teenagers understand the high level of sugar in their favorite beverages by displaying white sugar in the equivalent quantities.
"It's pretty shocking for them to see how much sugar is in these beverages," said UCCE nutrition educator Chelsey Slattery. "We talk about the health effects, the potential weight gain and how it can lead to diabetes and heart issues."
Slattery and her colleagues also teach students how to read a food label and how to be wary of advertisements.
"Sunny Delight has things like a sun and an orange on its label that make you think it's a healthy beverage, but it's only 5 percent juice," Slattery said.
Slattery encourages students to drink 100 percent juice, milk or water, the article said.
Nutritionally, preserved fruits and vegetables can be equivalent or superior to fresh, said Diane Barrett, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis.
By the time a stalk of broccoli makes it from the farm to the supermarket to your refrigerator, it has already lost some of its nutritional value. "Fruits and vegetables are frozen within hours of harvest, so that actually allows you to retain those nutrients," Barrett said.
Barrett's analyses show that vitamin C, fiber, potassium and zinc remain intact during the freezing process. Blanching before freezing may make vitamins A and E more digestible.
Mother Jones senior editor Kiera Butler turned to Carl Winter, also a UCCE specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, for information about pesticide residue in fresh and processed food.
Processed fruits and vegetables generally have less pesticide residue than fresh conventional produce, Winter said. This is because some fruits and vegetables are washed in a machine that jostles them around to remove dirt and debris before they are processed. Some are also blanched and peeled.
How much sugar is in a can of soda? Is an instant noodle cup a healthy lunch? The answers are in a video produced by San Diego County News Center that featured a nutrition presentation by UC Cooperative Extension nutrition educator Shirley Salado. Salado is part of EFNEP - the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.
UCCE has hosted EFNEP in San Diego County for nearly 40 years, educating underserved, low-income populations on making healthy food and fitness choices for themselves and their children.
See the video here:
Spezzano shared tips about increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in the diet and the importance of developing a regular exercise routine.
The mother of two young sons, Spezzano said they sit down together on Sundays with grocery store ads and plan the week's meals.
"We love the summer because it is so much easier to get fresh fruit and vegetables," Spezzano said. "We grow our own vegetables and go to the farmers' market on Saturday and that helps us plan meals also."
The Fresno Bee sought information from UCCE for a front-page story that appeared Monday about food waste. Americans throw away 90 billion pounds of food a year, the newspaper reported.
Ginnie Nash, UCCE nutrition education program manager, suggested buying only what you need. It sounds obvious, writer Bethany Clough acknowledged in the article, but buying too much is one of the biggest sources of food waste.
"We get busy. It's tough," Nash said. Plan meals on paper and see what's in the refrigerator and cupboard before going shopping.
Field trips for students to learn about eating healthy, which include presentations by UC Cooperative Extension nutrition educators in Tulare and Fresno counties, have appeared recently on ABC 30 Action News in Fresno.
In Fresno, the children visited the Fresno Unified Nutrition Center to try foods like jicama, broccoli and sweet potatoes and tour the processing line where their lunches are made.
In Tulare, children took part in AgVenture Day to make the connection between agricultural production and the food they eat. AgVenture Day was held International Agri-Center in Tulare and was sponsored by International Agri-Center, Tulare County Farm Bureau and UC Cooperative Extension.
UCCE nutrition educators presented an engaging skit to show the importance of good nutrition.
"We want to show them (that) someone grows it, someone processes it, someone eats it. And it helps you to think and learn and grow," said Julie Cates, UC Cooperative Extension.