Santa Clara Officials Take Aim At Kids' Sweet Tooth

Mike Colgan
September 14, 2018 - 12:00 pm

Mike Colgan

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SANTA CLARA — Santa Clara County health officials are urging students to drink healthy beverages, such as water and milk, while eradicating sugary drinks from their diet. 

“If you drink more sugary beverages it can increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay among other chronic conditions,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County public health director, at the launch of the Cut the Sugar campaign on Thursday. 

The consequences from sugar-heavy diets affect more Latino teens and children than white kids, health officials said. County data shows that Latinx teenagers are twice as likely as white teens to be obese while 50 percent of Latinx children will be at risk for diabetes. 

Overall, one third of middle- and high-school students in the county are overweight or obese, according to officials. 

Sugary drinks include artificially sweetened tea or coffee, energy or sports drinks, juices, flavored milk and all types of soda.

It's relatively easy to exceed the recommended maximum intake of sugar. For children between two and 16, the American Heart Association recommends less than six teaspoons of sugar daily.

It can be tough for children and parents to realize how much sugar they're ingesting. That's why the Santa Clara Public Health website says that “if you drink a 12-ounce can of soda everyday for a year, you will consume over 30 pounds of added sugar.”

The Cut the Sugar campaign, which consists largely of advertising in San Jose, Morgan Hill and Gilroy, runs through October.

Written by Arooba Kazmi.