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Evanston city officials say that restocking vending machines to offer more sugar-free beverages has dramatically cut consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks at several city facilities.

The “Rethink Your Drink” campaign, conducted in cooperation with NorthShore University HealthSystem, cut sale of sugar-sweetened beverages at the Civic Center by over 60 percent, by nearly 57 percent at the Crown Center and 49 percent at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center during the third quarter of this year compared with the same period last year.

Reductions at the Chandler-Newberger Center and Levy Center were much smaller — just over 20 percent.

The Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center saw a 29.3 percent increase in water purchased, and the Morton Civic Center and Chandler-Newberger Community Centers saw increased water purchases as well.

Evanston Health Director Evonda Thomas-Smith says drinking beverages sweetened with sugar can lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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