Wednesday, June 20, 2012

American Medical Association: Soda Tax One Strategy to Fight Obesity

In response to the nation’s ballooning obesity epidemic, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared that a “soda tax” or “sugar tax” is “one strategy among many” in the fight against obesity.

A recent study by Health Affairs determined a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar drinks could save $17 billion in health costs and save 26,000 individuals from premature death due to obesity-related illnesses. For two years now, the AMA Council on Science and Public Health proposed that AMA adopt a soda tax as a primary weapon against America’s obesity epidemic, but both years the AMA’s policymaking body rejected the proposal. This year, the council decided to take a more moderate approach, saying that “taxes on beverages with added sweeteners are one means by which consumer education campaigns and other obesity-related programs could be financed.” The council stopped short of fully endorsing a tax.

This year the AMA adopted the council’s recommendation. Council member Russ Kridel, MD, explains the idea and why every little bit helps in the battle against the bulge:

Additionally, the AMA came out in support of annual instruction in nutrition for all public school students. Read more at the Washington Post.

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