Posts tagged soda tax
A tax on soda would carry the greatest health benefits for black and Latino Californians, who face the highest risks of diabetes and heart disease, according to recent research findings, California Watch reports.
According to the news report:
The study found that if a penny-per-ounce tax was applied to soda, cuts in consumption would result in an 8 percent decline in diabetes cases among blacks and Latinos. The statewide reduction in new diabetes cases is projected at 3 to 5.6 percent, according to researchers from UC San Francisco, Columbia University and Oregon State University, who released their findings at a recent American Public Health Association annual meeting.
The study was unveiled as a sugar-sweetened beverage tax faces votes in El Monte, in Los Angeles County, and Richmond, in the Bay Area. A statewide excise tax was proposed but died in the California Legislature in 2010.
Latinos comprise about 64% of residents in Richmond and 70% in El Monte.
A penny-per-ounce tax would cut soda consumption by up to 20 percent, which would help eliminate 5 in 10,000 new diabetes cases for African Americans and 4 in 10,000 for Mexican-Americans, study lead author Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo told California Watch, although food and beverage spokesperson are quoted as saying that such a tax would hurt small businesses and isn’t proven to improve people’s health.
“It’s pretty clear that what’s necessary is some mechanism to increase price (enough) to curb consumption,” said Bibbins-Domingo.
America’s obesity epidemic is so deeply rooted that it will take dramatic and systemic measures—from overhauling farm policies and zoning laws to, possibly, introducing a soda tax—to fix it, according to a new report released May 8, 2012, by the influential Institute of Medicine (IOM), Reuters reports.
The 478-page report, according to Reuters, refutes the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of willpower on the part of individuals:
Instead, it embraces policy proposals that have met with stiff resistance from the food industry and lawmakers, arguing that multiple strategies will be needed to make the U.S. environment less “obesogenic.”
The IOM, part of the National Academies, offers advice to the government and others on health issues. Its report was released at the Weight of the Nation conference, a three-day meeting hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cable channel HBO will air a documentary of the same name next week.
“People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese,” committee member Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine told Reuters. “That advice will never be out of date. But when you see the increase in obesity you ask, what changed? And the answer is, the environment. The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment.”
Earlier this week, a CDC-funded study projected that by 2030, 42% of American adults will be obese, compared to 34% today.
The staggering human toll of obesity-related chronic disease and disability, and an annual cost of $190.2 billion for treating obesity-related illness, underscore the need to strengthen prevention efforts.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked the IOM to identify catalysts that could speed progress in obesity prevention. The IOM evaluated prior obesity prevention strategies and identified recommendations to meet the following goals and accelerate progress:
- Integrate physical activity every day in every way
- Make healthy foods available everywhere
- Marketing what matters for a healthy life
- Activating employers and health care professionals
- Strengthening schools as the heart of health
Check out the L.A. Times‘ interesting article on how the soft drink industry squashed a plan to tax sugary beverages — a plan advocates said would have reduced obesity and helped finance healthcare reform.
Recently the tax looked like it had a chance, given the need to fund more health insurance coverage and the soaring cost of treating ailments related to excess weight. But White House staff didn’t fully embrace the idea, and beverage lobbyists attacked some of the nation’s most distinguished nutriton scientists.
Some minority groups, including some committed to fighting obesity, even lined up against the tax:
Using the argument that higher food and drink taxes would unfairly burden the poor, the coalition recruited a bevy of Latino groups, among them the Hispanic Alliance for Prosperity Institute, the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Public health analysts were surprised to find that the list included the National Hispanic Medical Assn., which represents 36,000 Latino doctors and focuses on health issues, such as obesity-related diabetes, that hit Latino youth especially hard.
“Why in the world would a Hispanic health advocacy group do this?” asked Kelly Brownell, the director of Yale University’s Rudd Center on Food Policy and Obesity.
Read the rest of the article here.