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Soleil Mendez '12, Mount nursing student and member of the California Nursing Students Association, presented research on sugary drinks with other students in April at the Society of Pediatric Nurses annual convention. Photo by Paolo Montenegro.

Mount Nursing Students Win Award for Unmasking Sugary Drinks

May 3, 2011 -- A group of Mount nursing students has won a prestigious award for designing a poster that raises awareness about the amount of sugar children typically consume. The nursing students received the People's Choice Award for their poster, “What Are You Drinking?” that was presented at the Society of Pediatric Nurses Annual Convention in April.

“What Are You Drinking?” aims to teach families about how much sugar children consume by the beverages that they commonly drink. Using an interactive activity and visual representation, the nursing students asked volunteers to match beverages, such as CapriSun, Dr. Pepper, Coke, Vitamin Water and Snapple, to the correct amount of sugar in each drink. Bags of sugar visually demonstrated the amount of sugar in the beverages. Coke Zero won out for having zero calories and no sugar, although natural juices are more child-friendly.

The Mount students are members of the California Nursing Students Association, and represented the association during their presentation at the convention. Mount student Lawrence Crisostomo '11, the Mount's chapter secretary, says nurses should leverage their position to educate people who mistakenly drink secretly artificially-loaded beverages. “Today, society judges not only books by their covers, but drinks and bottles as well,” says Crisostomo. “As nurses, we are in a prime position to educate, clarify and promote healthier choices, simply by shining the light on the issue.”

The poster was created as part of the student group’s effort to reach out to the community by teaching them about preventive health care. The nursing students originally presented the poster at the Thanksgiving Service Project, a community service that provides health screening and education for people without access to health care. A member of the Society of Pediatric Nurses who attended the service project was impressed by the presentation and asked the students to present the poster at their next convention.

“We received a standing ovation at the convention, so it showed how much they appreciated our work,” says Charis Ann Balasan '11, a nursing student who was one of the presenters. “This experience has made it clear that nursing students are not just here to learn, but to educate the community, too.”

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