Medical Experts and Economists Praise Chicago City Council Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Discussion
CHICAGO, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Doctors say consuming just one sugar laden beverage a day could make you fat.
Chicago aldermen Tuesday heard testimony on the negative health effects of sugary drinks and implications of a proposed tax on such beverages. Suggesting the idea of a tax of between 15 and 35 cents per sugary drink was the policy brainchild of Ald. George Cardenas (12th), who sought the discussion of taxing sugary drinks as one potential policy option in the effort to curb child obesity rates.
The debate was anything but a fizzle–pitting doctors, medical researchers, economists and health advocates against lobbyists for the beverage industry.
“If we are serious about solving the obesity epidemic, we must start with the biggest culprits – drinks that are artificially loaded with sugar. These drinks are the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet.”
–Elissa Bassler, CEO
Illinois Public Health Institute
Citing growing concern from doctors and public health officials, proposals to tax sugary beverages are popping up in several cities and states across the country–a move advocates say is akin to the early phases of tobacco control efforts.
Just last week–in a first-of-its-kind medical symposium in Chicago–doctors, nurses and dentists met to explore strategies aimed at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.
In addition, last week four Chicago-area hospitals announce complete bans of sugar-based drinks from their cafeteria and vending machines–because of the long-term effects of the drinks.
The Illinois Public Health Institute, credited with organizing the historic medical meeting, today applauded the Chicago City Council’s initiatives to reduce consumption of sugar-loaded drinks.
The Institute said the efforts are essential and are nearly identical in scope to those aimed at curbing tobacco use through excise taxes.
The Institute insists that in order for the move to be successful any monies raised by taxing sugary drinks must be dedicated solely for public health and prevention programs. A point echoed by every speaker supporting a tax on sugary drinks.
SOURCE Illinois Public Health Institute