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June 18, 2010 > A soda free summer

A soda free summer

Almost 41% of children ages 2-11 in Santa Clara County are drinking one or more sodas or other sweetened beverages per day, according to Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and Its Link to Obesity in California, released in September 2009. Studies have found that drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages is associated with overweight and obesity among both adults and children. Shockingly, the number of overweight or obese kids in California has nearly tripled among 12-19 year olds and more than quadrupled among 6-11 year olds in the last three decades.

Leading health-conscious agencies in Santa Clara County have joined together on the Soda Free Summer campaign and challenge families to take the first step towards reducing the amount of sugar in their diet by pledging to be soda-free this summer. These agencies are united in the fight to prevent childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles for families and young children.

"We hope these startling statistics move parents to take action and take control over the amount of added sugar their children are consuming by drinking sodas, juice pouches, sports drinks and other sweetened drinks," said Jolene Smith, Executive Director of FIRST 5 Santa Clara County. "Almost half of a child's daily caloric intake can come from beverages. Drinking water or nonfat milk is one simple way to reduce a child's sugar intake."

The Soda Free Summer campaign is the next step to moving families and young children towards making more healthful meal choices.

"One in three California children is obese," said Dr. Raj Bhandari, who is physician-in-chief for Kaiser Permanente San Jose and will be participating in the campaign kick-off. "These children are likely to have shorter life spans than their parents and are also more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. In adults, obesity is associated with increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer and premature death."

Soda Free Summer is a bay area wide campaign supported by the members of the Bay Area Nutrition & Physical Activity Collaborative (BANPAC) - www.banpac.org.

For more information about the Soda Free Summer campaign visit www.sodafreesummer.org.

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