CHICAGO -- For two years now, the AMA Council on Science and Public Health has proposed that the American Medical Association adopt a "soda tax" or "sugar tax" as one of its primary weapons against America's obesity epidemic. For two years in a row, the AMA House of Delegates rejected the proposal.
This year, the council decided to take a more moderate approach, saying "taxes on beverages with added sweetners are one means by which consumer education campaigns ... could be financed."
Council member Russ Kridel, MD, of Houston, explains the idea and why every little bit helps in the battle against the bulge.
Here's the full text of the Council on Science and Public Health recommendation:
Our American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes the complexity of factors contributing to the obesity epidemic and the need for a multifaceted approach to reduce the prevalence of obesity and improve public health. A key component of such a multifaceted approach is improved consumer education on the adverse health effects of excessive consumption of beverages containing added sweeteners. Taxes on beverages with added sweeteners are one means by which consumer education campaigns and other obesity- related programs could be financed in a stepwise approach to addressing the obesity epidemic.
Where taxes on beverages with added sweeteners are implemented, the revenue should be used primarily for programs to prevent and/or treat obesity and related conditions, such as educational ad campaigns and improved access to potable drinking water, particularly in schools and communities disproportionately effected by obesity and related conditions, as well as on research into population health outcomes that may be affected by such taxes.