Food Is Not Your Enemy


Are You Ready for Pricier Soda?
January 26, 2010, 10:18 am
Filed under: Chronic Disease, food politics, Sweets, weight loss | Tags: , ,

On Friday, State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines testified before a State Senate hearing that a tax on sugary drinks would cut New Yorkers’ consumption of these beverages by 15 percent.

The tax, with a proposed implementation date of September 1, 2010, would increase the price of non-diet soda, sweetened water, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened bottled tea or coffee, and juice drinks by about 17 percent. The $1 billion raised over one year would go toward funding health programs that would otherwise be slashed given New York’s dire financial situation.

While there are many causes of obesity, the skyrocketing consumption of sweetened beverages is of major concern to scientists and health professionals. Once sold in 6.5-ounce bottles, today many sodas are marketed in 20-ounce and even larger single-serving containers. Soft drinks are now the single biggest source of calories in the average American’s diet.

An estimated $7.6 billion is spent every year in New York treating health problems related to obesity, much of it paid by taxpayers. That cost is expected to quadruple in the next eight years.

“The obesity crisis in New York State is one of our greatest public health challenges, resulting in extensive ill health and high health care costs,” Daines said at the hearing. “Governor Paterson is advancing a strong Obesity Prevention Agenda based on a combination of education, price incentives, and health policy to help stop and reverse the obesity epidemic.”

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