Columbia nonprofit to kick off campaign against childhood obesity

The Columbia-based nonprofit the Horizon Foundation will be kicking off its campaign against childhood obesity on Tuesday at Burleigh Manor Middle School in Ellicott City.

The event, called "Dump Sugar," will begin at 11 a.m. at the school, located at 4200 Centennial Lane, and is part of the foundation's effort to fight childhood obesity.

In attendance will be Howard County School Superintendent Renee Foose, acting County Health Officer Maura Rossman and Horizon Foundation President Nicole Highsmith Vernick.

During the kick-off, a dump truck full of 10 tons of sugar will be dumped at the command of the middle school students. The 10 tons represents the amount of sugar consumed by an average-sized middle school per year, if every student drank one 12-ounce soft drink every day.

The foundation will also unveil an online tool called the "Better Beverage Finder," which will help parents find better beverage choices.

According to the foundation, a quarter of all Maryland children are obese.

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