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“Rethink Your Drink” Campaign to Help CA Kids Kick Soda Habit

July 22, 2011

LOS ANGELES - "Rethink Your Drink" is the message health advocates are sending to parents and kids, as First 5 Los Angeles launches a campaign to help young children kick the soda and sugary drink habit.

Francisco Oaxaca, First 5's director of public affairs, says the average four-year-old in Los Angeles County eats or drinks almost 65 pounds of added sugar a year, which is usually more than their body weight. He says the single biggest source of added sugar in a child's diet comes from sugar-saturated beverages: soft drinks, fruit juices, punches and sports drinks.

"Something very important for parents to realize that making water the beverage of choice both in the home and outside the home can go a long way towards developing healthy habits for their children, which become healthy habits as adults."

Through the end of August, First 5 LA will work with other groups to distribute about 200,000 free copies of a new bilingual book, Potter the Otter: A Tale About Water. Oaxaca explains it includes fun activities to reinforce the sugar-free message.

"It features an otter who is walking throughout the forest, meeting his different animal friends along the way, and he's carrying a glass of water with a straw in it. And he's telling them how important it is to drink water - that maybe they should trade the soda, juice or the sports drink that they're drinking."

Oaxaca points to a growing link between the obesity epidemic and sugary drinks. He says childhood obesity frequently leads to adult obesity, and can cause serious health problems now, and later in life. Learn more about the Rethink Your Drink campaign at

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA