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Soda tax finally passes but will it help fight childhood obesity?

Posted on Nov 12, 2014 by Maggie LaBarbera

First let me say congratulations to Berkeley for having the courage to be the first city in the entire United States to pass the soda tax.  The soda tax has been kicked around congress locally and nationally for several years now, ever since the awareness of our nation's childhood obesity crisis.

The American Beverage Association has funneled millions of dollars in campaigns to fight the soda tax.  Their campaign efforts have been targeted to the low-income families who tend to drink more soda and can't afford the extra tax.  This is one of the reasons it has been so hard to pass this.

Although this is called the "soda tax", I should point out that this tax will be imposed on all beverages that are sweetened with sugar except alcohol, milk products and drinks used for medical purposes.

Of course, this continues to be a hot political debate ranging from freedom of choice to our nations' health.  The ABA trying to downplay this victory as not really representative of the overall country.  You will probably find just as many articles citing the tax won't help as you will find that this is a good thing.

But you can't argue that it has opened the door for other brave cities to begin to tax sugary drinks as we all ban together to try and find solutions to fighting childhood obesity.

To me, this very much parallels the story of the tobacco tax.  We know sodas, regular and diet, are not good for you.  There is mounting evidence that soda is linked to increasing risk for stroke, obesity, kidney damage and certain cancers.  It has also been linked to high blood pressure.  Have you ever looked at what exactly is in that can? yikes!

According to the USDA, 16% of calories in the typical American’s diet come from refined sugars and half of those calories come from beverages with added sugar*. “Do you remember when sodas used to be an occasional treat, but now it has become part of our every day diet.

Soda and sugary drinks are like every thing else in life, once in a while is fine but as an every day beverages, it's not good.

The soda tax is going to be used to educate the public about nutrition.  

You can't argue that more nutrition education is needed if we are going to try to change the course of our obesity rate and impact to our healthcare system.

Nourish Thought for the Day:  

When is too much, too much? When is it time to say "enough"?


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