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LA County tackles obesity issue with campaign on sugary drinks

October 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles County is taking on the local obesity epidemic with a new campaign.

The Department of Public Health wants to warn the public about the direct impact sugary drinks have on obesity, especially in children.

Officials said the campaign will inform the public about the amount of sugar in beverages, such as soda, sports drinks and energy drinks.

The campaign asks consumers: "You wouldn't eat 22 packs of sugar. Why are you drinking them?"

The health department said 23 percent of the county's fifth, seventh and ninth grade students are obese, and they have a 70 to 80 percent chance of becoming obese adults and developing health problems.

A study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy shows a strong link between soda consumption and weight.

Sixty-two percent of California teens drink one or more sodas a day, and that adds up to 39 pounds of sugar from sweetened beverages a year.

Researchers found that adults who drink a soda a day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight than adults who avoid sugary drinks.

There have been some changes in Los Angeles County. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District no longer offers chocolate and strawberry milk on the menu for students.

Health officials said parents also need to set good examples for their kids by eating right and exercising.