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Study: Half of Americans drink soda daily

ATLANTA -- Half of Americans drink a soda or other sugary beverage each day -- and some are downing a lot. One in 20 people drink the equivalent of more than four cans of soda a day. Health officials say sweetened beverages should be limited to less than half a can.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the figures yesterday in a report said to be the government's first to offer national statistics for both adults and kids.

Sweetened drinks have been linked to the U.S. explosion in obesity and related medical problems, and health officials have been urging people to cut back for years. Some have proposed an extra soda tax and many schools have stopped selling soda or artificial juices.

But advocates say those efforts are not enough, and yesterday a coalition of 100 organizations announced a new push. The effort includes the American Heart Association and the some city health departments that plan to prod companies to stop the sale of sugary drinks on their property or providing them at business meetings.

There will be new media campaigns, like one starting soon in Los Angeles that will ask, "If you wouldn't eat 22 packs of sugar, why are you drinking it?'

The CDC report found: About half the population drinks a sugared beverage each day.

Males consume more than females, with teenage boys leading the pack.

The poor drink more than the more affluent.

Blacks get more of their calories from sweetened beverages than other racial or ethnic groups. -- AP