The Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative (BANPAC) honored twenty Bay Area organizations that have committed to adopting 100% healthy beverage policies. At the Rethink Your Drink Launch on Thursday, May 9 these organizations were honored for rising to the challenge of providing healthy beverage options for their clients, members, parishioners, and staff at all organization-funded meetings, events, and fundraising gatherings and in their cafeterias and vending machines.
The churches being honored for their leadership were Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church, Genesis United Methodist Church, Golden Altar Ministries, Maranatha Christian Center, True Vine Baptist Church, and Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church.
According to Laura Brainin-Rodriguez, MPH, MS, RD with the San Francisco Department of Public Health Nutrition Services, “This effort is in response to the obesity and the type 2 diabetes epidemic. Sugar sweetened beverages have little nutritional value and are linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dental caries. Today almost a quarter of adolescents are diabetic or pre-diabetic, a dramatic increase over the past decade.”
“By passing a healthy beverage and food policy, our hope is that our congregation will be encouraged to develop healthier lifestyles. This coincides with our pastor, Reverend Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine declaring our church a ‘fry-free and soda-free’ zone,” said Patricia Lewis, Health Ministry Leader at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond.
Sojourner Truth Church Health Ministry Chair, Frances Nixon said, “Many of our parishioners have type 2 diabetes. We decided to offer spa water infused with fruit, such as lemon, cucumber, and orange and people loved it. We are changing norms and what people expect. Instead of punch and cake, they can expect water and fresh fruit and vegetables.”
BANPAC receives support from Kaiser Permanente and Santa Clara County Public Health Department.