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June 21, 2011 > 'Potter the Otter' urges kids to drink water

'Potter the Otter' urges kids to drink water

Submitted By Shalini Singh

An otter named Potter only drinks water, and FIRST 5 Santa Clara County urged Santa Clara County kids to do the same. FIRST 5 used their colorful, English/Spanish rhyming book titled, "Potter the Otter: A Tale About Water" to entice young children to make the right drink choices and mitigate the epidemic of childhood obesity in Santa Clara County and the nation.

On May 26th, preschools and elementary schools across the County were provided a copy of "Potter the Otter: A Tale About Water" and students were encouraged to read the book to promote awareness against childhood obesity. Over 100,000 copies of the free book are being circulated throughout the County as part of the "ReThink Your Drink" campaign led by FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, along with Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

"History tells us that these educational campaigns work. In fact, it may be the only way to turn things around. Many children don't have an awareness of obesity issues but it is interesting to see how quickly they gain awareness and then start to educate everyone else," said Supervisor Dave Cortese.

Frightening statistics show:
* An average 4-5 year old eats almost 65 lbs. of added sugar a year - that's more than their body weight!
* 41% of Santa Clara County children ages 2-11 drink one or more sodas, or other sweetened beverages, per day
* The single biggest source of added sugar in our children's diet comes from sugary drinks.

"Our children are our community's most valuable resource and their healthy development should be our highest priority. FIRST 5 created this book because it serves to educate in many ways... parents can read to their children and teachers can read to students. The book also includes fun activities to reinforce the sugar-free messaging. Education enables smart choices and learning through enjoyment is the best way to never forget what we learn," said Jolene Smith, Executive Director for FIRST 5 Santa Clara County.

Over 300,000 copies of "Potter the Otter: A Tale about Water" are circulating throughout First 5, schools, child care and health agencies statewide.

For more information on FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and its programs, please call (408) 260-3700 or visit

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