Americans Guzzling too Much Soda, Despite Declines
Statement of CSPI President Michael F. Jacobson
Despite what we know today about how sugar drinks, which include regular soda, fruit drinks, sweet tea, and sports or energy drinks, contribute to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and tooth decay, too many Americans are still guzzling too many sodas too frequently.
We can thank the industry’s marketing for that, whether it’s Pepsi’s Super Bowl extravaganza or Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign or millions of soda vending machines. In a report released today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that survey data from 23 states and the District of Columbia showed that 30.1 percent of adults reported consuming one or more sugar drinks a day, ranging from 47.5 percent in Mississippi down to 18 percent in Vermont. Importantly, given the industry’s marketing practices in communities of color and the health disparities in those communities, the data also showed prevalence of daily intake was 1.5 times higher among blacks than whites, and 1.4 times higher among Hispanics than whites.
Despite the decline we have seen in recent years in per capita consumption of carbonated sugar drinks, effective policies could do more to protect the public’s health. We need soda taxes and warning labels. We need to continue the push to remove sugar drinks from kids’ meals at restaurants, hospitals and other health-care settings, and government facilities. Public health departments need to mount and sustain hard-hitting ad campaigns that tell consumers the truth about the harm that sugar drinks can cause.
Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).