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Thursday, October 17, 2013

California teens are gulping down sodas, energy and other sugary drinks in record numbers

Still Bubbling Over... An important new study was released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy that shows some progress is being made in the fight against childhood obesity. Young children are drinking less soda and other sugary drinks.

However... This is not true for teens. Two out of three (65 percent) of adolescents aged 12 to 17 drink one or more sugary beverages a day. The chart to the right shows consumption is up across the state for every ethnic group.

Why? Health experts believe that parents, supported by state and local education and policy efforts to protect young children, are beginning to get the message that liquid sugar is harmful. Teens, however, are more independent and a perfect target for beverage companies.

The various soda companies deny marketing to teens, the facts tell a far different story. For example:

  • Sugary drink companies spend more than $382 million a year marketing carbonated beverages to adolescents.
  • The average teen sees 406 sugary drink television ads a year. 
  • Black teens see 90 percent more sugary drink television ads than white teens and Latino teens see twice as many sugary drink commercials a year than white teens. 

Sodas and other sugary drinks contribute a half a billion empty calories a day to California's costly and out-of-control obesity crisis. Half a billion, a number that is too big to imagine.

Something obviously needs to be done. Beverage companies aren't going to voluntarily stop advertising, paying for celebrity endorsements and sponsoring athletic teams and events. Do you have any ideas

~ Paula

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