2 Leading Health Organizations Urge Government to Enact Soda Taxes

It's the first time the groups have asked for policy.
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2 Leading Health Organizations Urge Government to Enact Soda Taxes

Two leading American health organizations are urging lawmakers on both state and national levels to introduce taxes on sugary drinks.

The American Heart Association and The American Academy of Pediatrics say the taxes could help to decrease obesity and diabetes rates among children. It's the first time the organizations have made policy suggestions over sugar consumption.

"Excess consumption of added sugars, especially from sugary drinks, poses a grave health threat to children and adolescents, disproportionately affecting children of minority and low-income communities," the AAP said in their proposal.

The groups say taxes, which have already been implemented in major U.S. cities including San Francisco and Philadelphia, have proven to help decrease consumption and the risks associated with excessive sugar in the diet.

"Local, state, and/or national policies intended to reduce consumption of added sugars should include the consideration of approaches that increase the price of sugary drinks, such as an excise tax," the groups noted. "Such taxes should be accompanied by education of all stakeholders on the rationale and benefits of the tax before implementation. Tax revenues should be allocated, at least in part, to reducing health and socioeconomic disparities."

The announcement also urges state and federal governments to consider marketing campaigns aimed at education efforts, particularly for families with young children, on the health risks of sugar. 

Soda taxes in Berkeley, Calif., the first city in the nation to pass soft drink legislation back in 2014, found near immediate results; just five months into the penny-per-ounce tax, the city reported a 21 percent decrease in all soda and sugar-sweetened drink sales.

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