International Quit Soda Day ... October 20th

Welcome to the 2nd Annual International Quit Soda Day,  10/20/2018.

 Inaugural International Quit Soda Day mural by Mike Rich of Portland, Maine, 2017

Inaugural International Quit Soda Day mural by Mike Rich of Portland, Maine, 2017

International Quit Soda Day, IQSD, is a day to focus our collective energy on decreasing worldwide consumption of soda and sugary drinks.  If we reduce consumption of sugary drinks, we will reverse the escalating rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay that afflict our communities.  

We can harness our collective energy to:

1) Challenge friends, family, and neighbors to give up soda and sugary drinks on this global quit date.

2) Challenge hospital administrators, school officials, and community leaders to phase out sugary drinks at their respective institutions.  You can find a downloadable sample letter reaching out to administrators in our digital toolkit.  

3) Challenge local, state, federal, and global health policy leaders to make clear and strong public announcements about the connection between sugary drinks and increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay.   Click HERE to view/share a sample letter to the newly appointed Director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield. 

4) Build relationships with public health advocates across local, regional, national, and global platforms.

 Dr. Kevin Strong at the  NCDFREE  bootcamp at Harvard Medical School with Anne Kiser, Founding member of  Global Health Disrupted , who we have partnered with to bring the DEFEAT SODATRON message to youth in Africa.  Click  HERE  to read more about our work in Africa.  

Dr. Kevin Strong at the NCDFREE bootcamp at Harvard Medical School with Anne Kiser, Founding member of Global Health Disrupted, who we have partnered with to bring the DEFEAT SODATRON message to youth in Africa.  Click HERE to read more about our work in Africa.  

 

5) Protect youth by educating them on the truth about soda and sugary drinks so they can make an informed decision to choose health over a path to chronic disease. 

 Dr. Kevin Strong with Operation: #DEFEATSODATRON in collaboration with NYC Health Department.  Pictured here with Dr. Aletha Maybank, Deputy Commissioner, NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene and Founding Director of the Center for Health Equity with students at PS 13 and Dunk the Junk rappers, Jay Caron and Mike Be.    

Dr. Kevin Strong with Operation: #DEFEATSODATRON in collaboration with NYC Health Department.  Pictured here with Dr. Aletha Maybank, Deputy Commissioner, NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene and Founding Director of the Center for Health Equity with students at PS 13 and Dunk the Junk rappers, Jay Caron and Mike Be.    

 

6) Think SODA TAX.  It is working in Mexico.  Click HERE to read on the Mexico soda tax.

7) Celebrate health as an unalienable human rite.  Commit to increasing our efforts to protect low income communities and developing nations from preventable chronic diseases.  

 Global Health Disrupted, in collaboration with Operation: DEFEAT SODATRON,  asks Kenyan school children... "Who is ready to QUIT SODA?"  

Global Health Disrupted, in collaboration with Operation: DEFEAT SODATRON,  asks Kenyan school children... "Who is ready to QUIT SODA?"  

 

In the spirit of this celebration, we invite you to download, share, and reproduce our posters, coloring pages, and music to promote health in your community.  Click HERE to explore the Operation: #DEFEATSODATRON digital toolkit.

 

Join us on Instagram @dunkthejunk , on twitter @dunkthejunkfood , and on hashtags #InternationalQuitSodaDay  #IQSD  #DEFEATSODATRON  to connect and AMPLIFY.

 

 Operation: #DEFEATSODATRON in Miami at Solbox Fitness with street art mural by @MikeRichDesign @vyalone @Keo_xmen 

Operation: #DEFEATSODATRON in Miami at Solbox Fitness with street art mural by @MikeRichDesign @vyalone @Keo_xmen 

In our journey towards health equity, social justice, and universal health; we wish you peace, love, and strength.

 

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 Operation: #DEFEATSODATRON working with children in the after school program, ASES, in Cathedral City, California.  

Operation: #DEFEATSODATRON working with children in the after school program, ASES, in Cathedral City, California.  

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Kevin Strong and the Dunk the Junk crew

 

OPEN LETTER to the newly appointed CDC Director

Dear Dr. Robert Redfield,

Congratulations on your appointment this year to be Director of the Center for Disease Control.  All Americans trust in, and benefit from, public servants who are dedicated to building systems and practices that keep us all healthy and safe.  

In that spirit we are writing to invite you to join us in celebrating the Second Annual International Quit Soda Day on October 20, 2018.

As you know, and as the CDC website notes, "frequently drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain/obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, and gout."  As you are also aware, Georgia has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the United States.  Since Atlanta is home to both the CDC, which is charged with protecting us from these diseases, and Coca-Cola, which is the largest manufacturer of one of the leading contributors to these diseases, you can understand why we feel your vocal support for this event is crucial.

We see this issue as not only one of health, but also one of justice and equality.  Tobacco companies have a shameful history of targeting minority communities in our country and funding lung cancer "research" favorable to their poisonous product.  We have been alarmed and saddened to see Coca-Cola undertake similar strategies, such as Coke's internally circulated "Vision 2020" plan, which laid out quite blatantly the company's plan to target minority communities.  We hope you will join us in the fight to make sure soda companies are not allowed to actively poison our African American and Hispanic youth.  

[[For reference, "Vision 2020 is Coke's plan to double its business by 2020... This aggressive plan is focused on dramatically increasing consumption of sugary beverages by young people using precision marketing that targets young people, mostly in Latino and African-American communities in the United States, and in developing countries abroad..."  -Joe Tripodi, Chief Marketing Officer for the Coca-Cola Company in 2014.]]

Please let us know if you can join us in support of the Second Annual International Quit Soda Day on October 20, 2018.  You might participate via live video feed or by submitting a pre-recorded message in support of this important public health event.

Our nonprofit will be celebrating this event at public schools, hospitals, and community centers throughout the United States.  We are eager to include your message in our efforts to empower youth with the truth about soda and sugary drinks so they can choose health over a path to chronic disease.  

Sincerely,

Kevin Strong, MD

Pediatrician

Advocate for Health Equity and Social Justice

Founder of the nonprofit, Dunk the Junk 

 

Operation: DEFEAT SODATRON - KENYA

Please join us in supporting Operation: DEFEAT SODATRON Kenya mission, a youth led, art inspired rebellion against BIG SODA's aggressive efforts to sell our communities a drink known to cause disease.

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As Operation DEFEAT SODATRON has spread the truth about soda in the United States there has been a dramatic drop in U.S. soda sales.  Youth are rebelling against BIG SODA's aggressive efforts to target their communities with a drink known to increase obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and heart disease.  Coke and Pepsi have responded to this drop in domestic sales by spending billions of dollars to market and disseminate soda in South America, India, China, Indonesia, Africa, and beyond.  

Here is a quote from Joe Tripodi, Chief Marketing Officer at Coca Cola, March 2014...

"Vision 2020 is Coke's plan to double its business by 2020...  This aggressive plan is focused on dramatically increasing consumption of sugary beverages by young people, mostly Latino and African-American communities in the United States and developing nations abroad... "

A prime example of this effort to increase global sales  was on display during the World Cup soccer tournament.  Every World Cup highlight video that we watched started with a Share A Coke advertisement.  Pop star Jason Derulo's Coca Cola Anthem for the World Cup had over 41 million views as of July 10th.  Our network of community health volunteers in Kenya tell us that Coca Cola soccer balls are being handed out in villages. 

 Coca Cola World Cup Advertisement, 2018.

Coca Cola World Cup Advertisement, 2018.

 

The Coca Cola Corporation, otherwise known as SODATRON, is actively invading nations with its robotic tentacles of greed, pumping children full of addictive sugary poison, spraying billboards that sell soda as happiness, yanking kids off water fountains, and paying off government officials to play along. 

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We have seen this playbook before with the tobacco industry.  As Americans learned the hidden truth about the devastating effects of cigarettes, BIG TOBACCO aggressively targeted developing nations with their highly toxic and addictive products.  The global health fallout from this relentless dissemination rumbles on to this day.

 British American Tobacco advertisement in Kenya

British American Tobacco advertisement in Kenya

 

SODATRON, like BIG TOBACCO, is working overtime to use its money and power to derail regional and global efforts to educate children on the truth about its products.  This strategy has been effectively employed in the United States with Coke money flowing to organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the National Institute of Health (NIH).  This high level health policy corruption helps explain our inept response to the catastrophic rise in national obesity and diabetes rates.  With over 2 billion people worldwide either overweight or obese, this national problem has become a global health crisis of unseen proportions.  

We feel the best way to DEFEAT SODATRON is to rally the people.  Our youth led, art inspired rebellion against BIG SODA empowers youth with the truth about soda so they can choose health over a path to chronic disease and premature death.  In 2017, we piloted a DEFEAT SODATRON campaign in Kenya to coincide with International Quit Soda Day.  Our friends at Global Health Disrupted utilized our DEFEAT SODATRON counterbranding materials to engage youth in an art infused rebellion against soda.  Kenyan youth embraced the campaign.  Empowered with new knowledge, they began creating rebel art of their own. 

 Empowered by knowledge, these Kenyan youth create art to express their dissent.

Empowered by knowledge, these Kenyan youth create art to express their dissent.

 A parade of colorful DEFEAT SODATRON artwork from school children in Kenya. Youth art becomes a nidus for rebellion against BIG SODA greed and propaganda.

A parade of colorful DEFEAT SODATRON artwork from school children in Kenya. Youth art becomes a nidus for rebellion against BIG SODA greed and propaganda.

 An impressive SODATRON created by Alex, a grade 3 student in Nairobi... he has been reflecting on the health dangers of sugary drinks and wants to avoid diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and obesity.

An impressive SODATRON created by Alex, a grade 3 student in Nairobi... he has been reflecting on the health dangers of sugary drinks and wants to avoid diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and obesity.

 Who wants to quit soda for good? An auditorium full of Nairobian and International students make the pledge to DEFEAT SODATRON.

Who wants to quit soda for good? An auditorium full of Nairobian and International students make the pledge to DEFEAT SODATRON.

In 2018, with the help of our partners at Global Health Disrupted (GHD), we are expanding our efforts in Kenya.  GHD has been training Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in Kenya to deliver the truth about soda and sugary drinks to the surrounding communities. Our Design Director, Mike Rich, is creating a comic to inspire a youth rebellion against SODATRON's invasion of Africa.

 SODATRON sets his sights on Africa with his robotic tentacles of greed ready to pump kids full of sugary poison. Draft comic cover by Mike Rich Design.

SODATRON sets his sights on Africa with his robotic tentacles of greed ready to pump kids full of sugary poison. Draft comic cover by Mike Rich Design.



We will invite Kenyan youth to submit their own comics that tell the story of a youth led rebellion to defeat SODATRON.   Our Hip Hop Director, Mike Be, has produced a new music track, titled POISON, protesting SODATRON's invasion of Africa and India with contributions from legendary hip hop artist General Steele of Smif-N-Wessun and Los Angeles based hip hop artist SETI X, aka Mandeep Sethi, with roots in India and hailed by GQ Magazine as “India’s booming hip hop scene’s new voice.”  The chorus of this track is designed for Kenyan youth to learn, perform, and share through their digital media networks.

Please join us in supporting Operation: DEFEAT SODATRON Kenya mission, a youth led, art inspired rebellion against BIG SODA's aggressive efforts to sell our communities a drink known to cause disease.  We empower youth with the truth about SODA so they have the knowledge to choose health over a path to chronic disease and premature death.  Empowered by knowledge,  with art as their weapon ...  YOUTH will DEFEAT SODATRON !      

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Cancer and School Lunch

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We know that the high sugar content of school food contributes to the childhood obesity and diabetes epidemics.  But could it also be increasing a child's cancer risk?  Scientific leaders in cancer research make a strong case for YES.  

The connection looks like this….

Excessive sugar consumption = Increasing obesity rates

 Increasing obesity rates = Increasing cancer rates

so by the transitive property excessive sugar consumption = increasing cancer rates.

 There is strong new evidence linking obesity to an increased risk of 13 different cancers.              ( http://nyti.ms/2bGbAwZ )  There is also no debate on the leading cause of obesity, excessive sugar consumption.  

The next logical question is how much sugar do our kids consume through the school lunch and breakfast program?  Here are some numbers from a public elementary school near me….

FIGURE 1

Figure 2

        

 

 

 

The answer as demonstrated in Figure 1 and Figure 2 is a child in elementary school can consume about 30 teaspoons of sugar if they eat breakfast and lunch at school.  Figure 3 shows the recent American Heart Association recommendation that children consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day.  Therefore, by eating breakfast and lunch at school, a child can consume 5 times the recommended amount of sugar each day.

Figure 3

To magnify the enormity of the sugar exposure at school I have included an article from the New England Journal of Medicine that demonstrates the effect of JUST 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day on a child.   These effects were measured in a double blinded, randomized placebo controlled study that demonstrated statistically significant effects on weight gain, skinfold-thickness measurements, waist-to-height ratio, and fat mass.  Here is the link to this invaluable study… 

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1203034

Remember that the effects seen in this study were from 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, while kids consume about 30 teaspoons of sugar per day by eating breakfast and lunch at our public schools (5 times the amount in this study).  

The logic connecting school lunch to cancer risk follows quite nicely from the above elucidation.  By eating breakfast and lunch at school your child can consume 30 teaspoons of added sugar, 5 times the recommended amount of sugar by the American Heart Association and 5 times the amount of sugar that showed statistically significant effect on weight gain, skin fold-thickness measurements, waist-to-height ratio, and fat mass in the NEJM study on children. 

If you still think connecting the high sugar content of our school food to cancer seems far-fetched then perhaps these cancer experts can sway you...

Lewis Cantley, Director of the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, put it this way:  "Sugar scares me."

Craig Thompson, the President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York says,  "I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet and eat as little as I possibly can, because I believe ultimately it's something I can do to decrease my risk of cancer."

 

The above quotes are borrowed from the NY Times Magazine Article from 4/13/2011, Is Sugar Toxic, written by Gary Taubes (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all ).  

 

The Failure of Michelle Obama's LETS MOVE Campaign

Michelle Obama is an incredible person.  Michelle Obama has been an outstanding First Lady of the United States.  The Lets Move campaign has been an outstanding movement for promoting exercise to our youth.  The Lets Move campaign has done a nice job promoting gardens and the consumption of vegetables.

However, if we judge the Lets Move campaign on its stated mission to "solve the problem of obesity within a generation" then the campaign has been a tremendous failure.  This failure is no surprise to the scientists and doctors who work in the field of childhood obesity.   The science based key to reversing the obesity epidemic lies in decreasing exposure to added sugars.  If you tell a child to exercise more BEFORE you get them off sugary drinks then they actually gain more weight.  The science is simple….A 30 minute soccer practice is NOT enough exercise to burn off the gatorade the child brings to "rehydrate" with.   Every week I see children in my office who are frustrated that their efforts to exercise have failed to solve their weight problem.  These children and families feel hopeless.  They have followed the instructions of our national leadership and continue to gain more weight.  The first thing we do is to explain the TRUTH about beating childhood obesity…. LETS NOT DRINK SUGAR.  We challenge the children to battle SODATRON, the evil SODA monster, who is ravaging our communities.  They must NOT drink the poison of the enemy for one month ( no sugary drinks for one month) and then they return to our office.   Inevitably, upon return, their weight has plateaued or even decreased. More important then the successful weight loss is that THESE CHILDREN FEEL EMPOWERED, their sense of hopelessness has disappeared.  

WE MUST ACT NOW TO CHANGE THE NATIONAL STRATEGY as obesity rates have hit an all-time high this year.  The public health consequences of our flawed national strategy are catastrophic. 

 OPERATION: #DEFEATSODATRON

OPERATION: #DEFEATSODATRON

For those who want to read more on the science of reversing the obesity epidemic, we recommend this article by Dr. Aseem Malhotra.

For those who want to learn more about the science of sugar we recommend this video lecture from Dr. Robert Lustig. 

In 2012 our campaign attempted to warn Michelle Obama and the Lets Move campaign of the imminent failure of their strategy with this blogpost.