Jon Sarisky is an 11-year-old boy from Livingston, Montana who gave up soda and other sugary drinks for a year, in order to win $500. Parents of the young man presented Jon and his older brother Andrew with a Christmas challenge in December 2014. The siblings were offered $100 on the spot, or $500 if they abstained from sugary drinks for a year. Andrew took the instant payout, while Jon accepted the health challenge. After going a year without soda, Jon has won the money, and jokes he will spend it all on soda.

The sixth-grader took his last sip of soda - a Fanta Orange - on January 3, 2014, at a birthday party for his brother. Knowing it was his last sugary drink in at least a year, the boy savored the beverage.

Parents of the boy made him sign a formally-written contract, specifying terms and conditions of the No-Pop challenge. These conditions forbade not just soda, but also sports drinks, hot chocolate and bottled juices, even those made with 100 percent fruit, which contains the sugar fructose.

"This is a zero-tolerance agreement. Therefore, under no circumstances will Child receive a 'second chance.' Child takes full responsibility for honoring and upholding this contract," the contract read.

The young winner said he was not overly tempted to consume sweet drinks during the year, and that his biggest challenge was remembering not to accept the beverages while at the houses of friends.

Renee Shifley told the press that over-consumption of sugary drinks is not a major problem in their family, but the parents wanted to teach the young man about self-discipline and the rewards of delayed gratification.  

The preteen told the press that many of his friends did not believe his parents would give him $500, even if he did complete the challenge. As the year progressed, he would think of different ways that he could spend the money, in order to keep up his motivation.

"[T]hose who averaged one can of a sugary beverage per day had a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack than men who rarely consumed sugary drinks. A related study in women found a similar sugary beverage-heart disease link," Harvard researchers report.

On January 4, 2015, Jon will once again be able to partake in sugary beverages, but the youth tells the press he now intends to consume soda responsibly.

"I might have just one pop, but I'm not going to overdo it... [It's] OK for a splurge now and then," Jon Sarisky told the Livingston Enterprise.

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