You can hear the anxiousness and worry in Michael Jacobson's voice as he goes over the figures -- childhood obesity and diabetes are on the rise, funding for physical education programs is being cut from school budgets, and then there's the soda problem.
"The extremes are just astronomical," he said, pointing to the fact many boys and girls are downing five to seven cans of sugary beverages a day.
Most kids aren't drinking that much, but they still have two to three cans of soda per day, which make up about 15 percent of those children's daily caloric intake. Jacobson, the head of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, calls these drinks "liquid candy" and said they are the largest factor behind the American obesity epidemic.
But even though study after study has shown the connection between sugary drinks and childhood obesity, there is no consensus on how to get children to pass on the pop.
Jacobson and his group are taking an aggressive -- some say misguided -- approach to limiting kids' soft drinks consumption. They are asking the Food and Drug Administration to put warning labels about obesity on soda containers.
"We see public officials wringing their hands about the obesity epidemic, but what are they doing about it?" Jacobson said. He argues that pressuring the FDA can force the soft drink manufacturers to debate the merits of their product.
But not all health experts believe soda can warning labels would help.
Dietician Keith Ayoob, a professor of pediatric nutrition at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said the labels might even cause a backlash. "I think they've had it with people telling them what they can and can't do," he said.
Two Los Angeles teens, 17-year-old Josh Stern and 18-year-old Marissa Verity, seemed unimpressed by the possibility of soda warning labels. "I probably wouldn't care that much," Stern said. Verity agreed, saying, "I'm old enough to know what to eat."
Both thought it would have an effect on their parents, however.
The American Beverage Association, the group representing soft drink manufacturers, has also argued warning labels would be ineffective.
"Just putting a 'yuck' sticker on it isn't going to work," said Connie Dieckman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.
She also worried that singling out soft drinks would send the wrong message. "If we're going to label one food, we better get ready for labels on lots of different foods, couches, cars, televisions and computers since all of those things might play a role in the growing problem of obesity," she said.
But some, like Harvard professor Dr. David Ludwig, who directs the obesity program at Children's Hospital Boston, take issue with this argument. "To say that soft drinks are only part of the problem, so we shouldn't focus on soft drinks, is specious and self-serving," he said.
Barry Popkin, the director of the University of North Carolina's Obesity Program, said the reason to pick on soft drinks is because our bodies treat beverages differently than foods. "We have a thirst mechanism that appears to work separately from our satiation mechanism," Popkin said.