Your recent editorial on Howard County's ban on sugary beverages hit the mark ("A culture of healthy choices," Dec/ 13).

On behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics Maryland Chapter and our nearly 900 members statewide, I want to support Howard County Executive Ken Ulman for setting strong nutritional standards for the beverages sold on county property.

Consumption of sugary drinks has been linked to obesity and the chronic diseases that are killing most Marylanders. Because of Mr. Ulman's actions, food and drinks served to young people by county departments in after-school programs, recreation and parks programs, and in county parks and libraries will now be more healthy.

In our view, Mr. Ulman's actions should be copied statewide.

Pediatricians see firsthand the impact of childhood obesity. More and more children are being diagnosed with adult-like diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

We recommend that parents speak to their pediatricians if they have questions regarding their child's weight. Parents who want to set their children on the right path to a healthy life will do their best to avoid bringing sugary drinks into the home and support public policies that make the healthy choice the easy choice to make.

Paula K. Minsk, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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