Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Legislation Weeks Away, Says DeLauro
Taxes, Warning Labels, & Other Policies to Reduce Soda-Related Diseases are Focus at National Soda Summit
National legislation to levy an excise tax on sugar drinks is just weeks away from introduction according to Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who today addressed the second National Soda Summit via video, saying such an approach would help address the serious damage sugar drinks are doing to our health.
"When a two-liter cola is 99 cents and blueberries are over three dollars, something has gone very wrong," said DeLauro, Ranking Member on the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
DeLauro's remarks headlined the second day of the summit, which brought leading researchers and scientists, public health officials, foundation executives, and community activists together to discuss the most effective strategies to reduce soda-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. An official from New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene described that city's appeal of a lower court's injunction against the city's proposed cap on soda serving sizes as critical for future efforts by the department to take action. Health activists from California discussed promising efforts in that state to levy local taxes on soda, as well as legislation that recently passed in the state senate that would require warning notices on containers of soda and other sugary drinks. Representatives from Mexican consumer group El Poder del Consumidor discussed their successful campaign to enact a one-peso-per-liter tax on soda and other junk foods there, which reduced sales by about seven percent.
"All around the country, public health officials are recognizing soda's contribution to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease and are working on policies aimed at reducing consumption of sugar drinks," said Center for Science in the Public Interest executive director Michael F. Jacobson.
"We are winning," said Jim Krieger, director of chronic disease and injury prevention at Seattle and King County's public health department. "Consumption of soda is decreasing. Why? Through effective public awareness campaigns and the growing movement to remove soda from schools, childcare sites, government property, hospitals and work places. We need to build on this momentum and ultimately we must tax sugary drinks to discourage consumption—identifying them as an unhealthy product and using the revenues to promote health."
The conference was organized by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest with support from the American Heart Association, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, The California Endowment, and The Kresge Foundation. The first such summit was held in 2012.