A Columbia-based nonprofit is kicking off an anti-obesity campaign designed to get parents and children in Howard County to kick the soda habit.

The Horizon Foundation plans to hold a “Dump Sugar” event Tuesday morning, where organizers will dump 10 tons of “sugar” (actually white sand) at a local middle school.

Ten tons signifies the amount of sugar that the average middle school student would consume if he or she drank one 12-ounce soda each day for one year, organizers said.

Soda and other sugary beverages are considered to be one of the major culprits in the obesity epidemic. A quarter of Maryland children are obese or overweight, organizers said.

The foundation will also unveil a new online tool that will help parents and children find alternatives to sugar-laden drinks. The “Better Beverage Finder” is a database containing the sugar content of about 300 different drinks.

Tuesday’s event will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Burleigh Manor Middle School in Ellicott City.