SOURCE: First 5 California

October 29, 2007 17:45 ET

Trick?... or Treat? Children's Staggering Sugar Consumption Unmasked in Time for Halloween

First 5 California, Westfield Partner to Reduce Childhood Obesity

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - October 29, 2007) - This Halloween parents of preschoolers should be spooked by recent findings that their child is eating 60 percent more than their body weight in sugar. First 5 California today called attention to these findings as part of a kick-off event announcing its new partnership with Westfield, one of the world's largest mall operators, to help curb the growing obesity problem. As a first step, Westfield will hand out First 5 California temporary tattoos at concierge centers during trick-or-treat events at participating Westfield shopping centers across California.

"While there are many causes of childhood obesity, today we are raising awareness of a major culprit -- eating too much sugar," said Kris Perry, executive director of First 5 California. "Partnering with Westfield will go a long way in helping First 5 California spread our messages on the importance of good nutrition and physical activity in a setting that is familiar and family friendly."

According to a January 2005 study in the Journal of Pediatrics, the average 4- to 5-year-old consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which amounts to approximately 64.6 pounds of added sugar a year. The majority of a child's added sugar intake comes from fruit drinks, high-fat desserts, soft drinks and candy.

Currently, one in three children in California is overweight or at risk of becoming overweight, regardless of age, race or gender. Recent research suggests infants and children who are overweight at any point are more likely to remain overweight and even become obese by age 12. If left unchecked, obesity can lead to serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

As a result of the growing obesity problem, the current generation of children may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.

"We believe so strongly in the importance of this initiative, that Westfield is providing in-kind marketing and outreach opportunities valued at more than $1 million to help First 5 California educate families on how to address this issue," said Katy Dickey, Westfield's executive vice president of corporate communications. "We know our shopping centers in California are effective places to market products, but now they also play a key role in reaching out, educating and informing our customers."

In the coming months, Westfield shopping centers will have First 5 California brochures and signage designed to help parents better understand ways to reduce the risk of obesity in their children.

First 5 California's collaboration with Westfield is part of the First 5 F.A.N. Club, a partnership between First 5 California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Get Healthy California! and corporations such as Westfield. The program was created to educate the public about the importance of good nutrition and physical activity for children 0 to 5 in order to help curb the obesity epidemic.

The First 5 F.A.N. Club is the newest addition to First 5 California's ongoing comprehensive childhood obesity prevention and awareness campaign. Other campaign efforts include hard-hitting television, radio and billboard advertisements that have received national media attention; the first-ever public education campaign targeting childhood obesity in the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) community; and First 5 California's interactive "Hands-On Health" mobile exhibit which has traveled to nearly 100 cities across California to raise awareness of the health risks children face in their first five years.

Early next year, First 5 California will join forces with renowned Mexican-American Chef Laura Diaz -- known by her fans as Chef LaLa -- to launch a recipe booklet with tips on nutrition for families with young children.

About First 5 California

First 5 California, also known as the California Children and Families Commission, was established after voters passed Proposition 10 in November 1998, adding a 50 cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund education, health, childcare and other programs for expectant parents and children up to age 5. For more information please visit

Editor's Note: List of malls attached.

                Locations Throughout California

       Location                    City               Address
------------------------------  -------------   -------------------------
Westfield Century City          Los Angeles     1801 Avenue of the Stars,
                                                 Suite 833
Westfield Downtown Plaza        Sacramento      547 L Street
Westfield Fashion Square        Sherman Oaks    14006 Riverside Drive,
                                                 Suite 17
Westfield Fox Hills             Culver City     294 Fox Hills Mall
Westfield Galleria at Roseville Roseville       1151 Galleria Blvd., Suite
Westfield Horton Plaza          San Diego       324 Horton Plaza
Westfield MainPlace             Santa Ana       2800 N. Main Street, Suite
Westfield Mission Valley        San Diego       1640 Camino del Rio North,
Westfield North County          Escondido       272 E. Via Rancho Parkway
Westfield Oakridge              San Jose        925 Blossom Hill Road,
                                                 Suite 2005
Westfield Palm Desert           Palm Desert     72-840 Highway 111
Westfield Parkway               El Cajon        415 Parkway Plaza
Westfield Plaza Bonita          National City   3030 Plaza Bonita Rd.,
Westfield Plaza Camino Real     Carlsbad        2525 El Camino Real, #100
Westfield Promenade             Woodland Hills  6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Westfield San Francisco Centre  San Francisco   865 Market St., Box A
Westfield Santa Anita           Arcadia         400 South Baldwin Ave.,
                                                 Suite 231
Westfield Solano                Fairfield       1350 Travis Blvd.
Westfield Topanga               Canoga Park     6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd.,
                                                 Suite 1M
Westfield UTC                   San Diego       4545 La Jolla Village
                                                 Drive, Suite E-25
Westfield Valencia Town Center  Valencia        24201 West Valencia Blvd.,
                                                 Suite 150
Westfield Valley Fair           Santa Clara     2855 Stevens Creek Blvd.,
                                                 Suite 2178
Westfield West Covina           West Covina     112 Plaza Drive

Contact Information

    Elisa Bupara
    (916) 263-1044