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Reducing Sugary Drinks in San Mateo County

General information

In many places in San Mateo County, its easier to find sodas or other sugary drinks than water. Countywide, nearly one in three children and one in six adults in San Mateo County drink one or more sodas each day.

Sugary drinks are extremely dangerous because liquid sugar absorbed very quickly — in as little as 30 minutes — forcing the liver to convert it into liver fat that leads directly to diabetes. We’ve seen this here in San Mateo County, where there has been a 250% increase in diabetes over the last decade. 

There is a direct link between sugary drinks – such as soda and sports drinks – and obesity in San Mateo County.  This is not surprising given that in the U.S., $400 million is spent each year marketing carbonated drinks to our children. 

The four main reasons for this disturbing high percentage of people drinking this much soda are:

  1. Sugary drinks are everywhere. They’re the flavored milk, sodas, sports drinks and fruit flavored drinks in our schools, at convenience stores and gas stations. They’re even in the hardware store check-out line.
  2. Sugary drinks are cheap. As the price of healthier foods like fruits and vegetables and dairy products has gone up over time, sugary drinks have gotten much cheaper over time.
  3. Sugary drinks are served in huge sizes. Years ago, the average soda was 6.5-ounces.  Today, most people buy a 20-ounce drinks and drink it all it all at once, as if it’s one serving.
  4. Sugary drinks are heavily marketed. The beverage industry purposefully markets to children, youth and people of color.

Get the latest data from our San Mateo County sugary drink factsheet on the risks of sugary drinks and what you can do to help. 

Find more sugary drink  data on our Healthy Neighborhoods data page.