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Howard County's Campaign Against Sugary Drinks Appears To Be Working

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Got soda? Probably not if you're in Howard County.

A new study finds that less people there are buying sugary drinks, as it appears Howard County's campaign against sugary drinks is working.

A new review in the Journal of American Medicine shows the sale of sugary drinks in Howard County is down by 20 percent, mostly because of the county's efforts against high calorie beverages like: soda, sweetened teas, and juices.

Researchers compared sales from grocery stores in Howard County and found the campaign is working.

"This study shows that a community that's committed to changing behavior and changing the norms of its community can really make a difference," said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, president CEO of Horizon Foundation - which launched the campaign three years ago.

Vernick says one in four children in Howard County are at an unhealthy weight, and "sugary drinks are the largest single source of added calories in kids' diets."

A recent CDC study finds that children still drink high amounts of calories a day.

"A child who gets type two diabetes at the age of 10, is an adult that will have complications like kidney failure and amputation at the age of 35,"said Shawn McIntosh, executive director of Sugar Free Kids Maryland.

A danger they say should be avoided early on.

Other cities have enacted a soda tax which has also dropped the consumption rate, and Horizon Foundation is hoping their initiatives will be replicated in other parts of the state.

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