LA County to masses: Lay off the sugary drinks

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Los Angeles County has launched a new campaign on Wednesday to fight obesity and keep Angelenos healthy. The campaign, called Choose Health LA is centered around three main motto "Eat Healthy, Move Healthy and Live Healthy."

More than 58 percent of adults in L.A. County are medically obese or overweight. This number doesn't stop with adults. Almost 23 percent of L.A. County students in fifth, seventh and ninth grade are also obese.

Public health officials said Wednesday that children obesity rates have spiked in recent years. Children, officials said, now drink more sugar-loaded beverages than milk. Dr. Jonathan Fielding is the L.A. County public health director and says that trend is disturbing.

"We’ve had a 50 percent increase in the level of obesity in the last 12 to 15 years," he said. "This is not the only contributor but this is one; and it’s adding empty calories, inches to your waistline and risks to your health."

The program has built a website around the campaign and videos to help raise awareness of the actually amount of sugar in these drinks. A large fast food soda, for example, contains 22 packs of sugar.

Public health officials say soda and other sugar-loaded drinks are the biggest single source of added calories in the American diet, especially for children.

Fielding’s department and Los Angeles Universal Preschool will encourage families to switch from sugary soft drinks, sports drinks and coffee drinks to water or sparkling water with a dash of fruit juice.

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