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California Teens Consuming More Sugary Drinks

— Sugary drinks like sodas are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. In a discouraging trend, a new study finds adolescents in California are drinking even more of these beverages than before.

The largest source of added sugar in teens' diets is sugary drinks, and California teens are drinking more of them.

The study comes from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. It’s based on interviews of more than 40,000 California households.

The report reveals statewide in 2007, 57 percent of teens drank at least one soda daily. Today, 65 percent of teens drink at least one a day.

San Diego County’s rate stands at 61 percent. The lead author of the UCLA report, Dr. Susan Babey, said that’s no reason to celebrate.

“Because there’s actually a strong link between consumption of these beverages and overweight and obesity, 61 percent, I think is still very high for a proportion of teens who are drinking these drinks every day,” Babey pointed out.

In contrast to the trend among teens, there's been a 26 percent decline in consumption among California's 6- to 11-year-olds during the past five years. Babey said that may be in part because parents are limiting how much soda and other sugary beverages their young children drink.

Teens are more independent and they seem to be the prime marketing target for beverage companies.

In an attempt to cut down on youth consumption, California’s public schools no longer sell soft drinks, but sugary sports and energy drinks are still available on school campuses.

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