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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 6, June 2011, Posted On: 6/7/2011

Hawaii Launches 'Don't Drink Yourself Fat' Campaign

Emily Jed
Hawaii Don't Drink Yourself Fat campaign, beverages, vending machine business, vending business, soda vending machine, Kauai and Maui District Health Offices, American Beverage Association, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, Hawaiian obesity

HONOLULU -- Hawaii's health department has kicked off a public awareness campaign aimed at discouraging consumption of sugary beverages, which officials say is a prime culprit behind the state's growing obesity epidemic.

The "Don't Drink Yourself Fat" media campaign, led by the Kauai and Maui District Health Offices and funded by a $3.4 million federal grant, is also being used to promote consumption of locally grown produce and encourage physical activity.

Hawaii's adult obesity rate more than doubled between 1995 and 2009, or from 10.8% of the population to 22.9%. In 2003 Hawaii spent a reported $290 million on obesity-related medical costs, and health officials point to sugar-sweetened beverages as a big contributor.

Hawaiian health officials claim that Americans now consume 200 to 300 more calories a day on average than they did three decades ago, and that nearly half of those extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks.

The beverage industry argues that singling out soft drinks as the sole cause of obesity is unfair. The American Beverage Association claims that the total calories from all sugar-sweetened soft drinks only count for 7% of the average American diet.

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