Forget the old summer days of grabbing a soda pop with your friends to cool off, or downing a few at a picnic -- because this summer, at least in Contra Costa County, there's a big push to get kids and their families to avoid all sugary drinks. It's all about watching your waistline, and your overall health.
The soda free summer campaign asks residents to exchange the sodas for a healthier alternative, like water.
Contra Costa County is working to promote better health and prevent obesity as part of a regional effort. Six counties are participating in this "Rethink Your Drink" campaign, organized by the Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative.
Health officials say Americans consume an average of 100 pounds of sugar each year, of which a big portion comes from soda and other sugary drinks. This sugar has been identified as a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.
In Contra Costa County for example, 60 percent of adults and nearly a quarter of all middle school students are overweight or obese. As part of the campaign, participating health departments will distribute promotional materials and hold workshops to educate the community.
People who want to rethink their drink will also be given brochures to keep track of their soda-free days. At the end of the summer, they can enter the completed brochures into a raffle. Health officials hope the soda-free habit turns long-term way of life.