(This is an excerpt of a press release from First 5)
Tuesday marked the official launch of this summer’s “Soda Free” campaign put on by FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. The campaign kickoff took place at San Jose’s Children’s Discovery Museum where dozens of young children and families participated in a demonstration of how much sugar is contained in popular drinks like soda and fruit juices.
As an alternative to sugar–sweetened beverages, the Museum created a free “water bar” featuring fruit- and vegetable-infused water for families. “We’re here to inform families on the health impacts that soda and sugar have on their children. At the same time we want to engage children at an early age and teach them to ask for water all the time, every time,” said Jolene Smith, FIRST 5 Chief Executive Officer.
The average 4 and 5 year old child consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar a day from soda, sugar-sweetened beverages, high fat desserts, and candy. This amounts to 65 pounds of added sugar a year. However, Sugary beverages are the biggest source of the added sugar in a child’s diet.
According to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy 4 out of 10 children in Santa Clara County drink one or more sodas, or other sugar-sweetened beverages, per day adding to their daily sugar intake. These levels of sugar intake have been linked to weight gain, obesity, high cholesterol, cavities and developing severe health problems such as Type 2 diabetes. “One in three low-income children in Santa Clara County is overweight or obese putting them at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. We must reverse this alarming trend starting with what our children are drinking,” said Aimee Reedy, Public Health Department Division Director.