Young Kern County kids have cut down on the number of sugary drinks they gulp down a day in recent years, according to a new study.

Thirty-six percent of Kern kids ages 2 to 11 drank at least one soda or other sugared beverage a day in 2011-2012, down from nearly 50 percent for 2005-2007, according to a policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The figures stayed the same -- 63 percent -- for adolescents ages 12 to 17.

The report found that statewide guzzling of sugar-sweetened beverages fell among younger children but rose among adolescents. Kern County fell right in line with the state's 11 percent drop in the consumption of one or more sugary drinks a day for children ages 2 to 17 between the two time frames.

The policy brief made several suggestions to further reduce kids' sugary sipping, including removing sugar-sweetened beverages from places where children spend time and making alterative drinks available.

The study used data from the California Health Interview Survey. Visit to view policy brief.

Specialists from Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute are teaming up with Central Cardiology to treat local heart patients in Kern County.

Physicians that specialize in heart rhythm disorders will meet regularly with local patients with complicated cases. Two physicians from the Heart Institute began consulting with the local group last month, according to a news release. The physicians are coming every other week.

"Through our work with the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, we can offer our patients the next level of care without them having to leave home to be evaluated," said Dr. Brij Bhambi, chief medical officer of Bakersfield Heart Hospital and chief of staff of Central Cardiology, in a news release.