June 4, 2008
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In an effort to stem a trend toward consumption of sugary beverages that might lead to weight gain and possibly obesity, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and Contra Costa Health Services have joined a six-county campaign to encourage residents to "Rethink Your Drink" and have a "Soda Free Summer."
The Board passed a resolution Tuesday declaring this to be a "Soda Free Summer" in Contra Costa, and the six counties joined today in Oakland to launch an information campaign about high-calorie beverages.
"The average American consumes nearly half a pound of sugar each day, and the number one source is soda pop," said Charlotte Dickson, Obesity and Diabetes Coordinator for Contra Costa Health Services" Community Wellness & Prevention Project. "People are surprised to hear how much sugar is in the beverages they choose.
"The campaign encourages people to drink healthier alternatives to sugary sodas and sports drinks. We always recommend water," said Dickson. "Extra calories from sugar can lead to weight gain, which increases risk for diabetes and heart disease."
As noted in the Contra Costa resolution, "An African American or Latino child born today has a 50% chance of developing Type 2 diabetes," and "The prevention of diabetes and obesity are among the most urgent challenges of our day."
"We and our community partners have been preparing residents for this summer campaign all year," said Donna Coit, a Public Health Nutritionist with the Community Wellness & Prevention Project. "People are very receptive to the idea of healthier drinks like water, skim milk and unsweetened ice tea."
Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) staff has been educating parents, children and after-school providers about drinking water instead of sweetened drinks, as have community groups like Weigh of Life in West County.
"Rethink Your Drink" fliers were developed and mailed by CCHS and the county Employment and Human Services Department to 10,000 households. The fliers encourage people to add a slice of orange, lemon, lime or cucumber to water for flavor with no calories.
Contra Costa is one of six counties in the Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative, which kicked off the Soda Free Summer campaign during its meeting today in Oakland. The others are Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara.
Parts of the campaign are funded by the state Department of Public Health"s Network for a Healthy California.
For more information about the Rethink Your Drink and Soda Free Summer campaigns, contact Gwenndolynn White at email@example.com or 925-313-6829.
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