Tag Archives: sugar

Sugary Beverage Warning Law Lands in the Suspense File

Sugary beverage warning stalled over $400,000 bill

by Brian Leubitz

That number you read above is not missing any zeros. Apparently the policy decision to help reduce diabetes fell to a bill of less than half a million dollars, which in the grand scheme of obesity costs, is quite small.

A state bill that would require health-warning labels on sugar-added drinks and sodas in California was sidelined Monday for further review of its enforcement costs even though its author argued that it would cut costs to taxpayers in the long term by reducing diabetes and other obesity-related diseases.

The Senate Appropriations Committee moved SB 1000 to the suspense file. Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) said he will work to reduce the $390,000 in immediate costs of enforcement for his measure so it can be revived for a floor vote. (LA Times)

Can it be really argued that the net expense of this will be positive for the state? Dialysis and other diabetes care is rapidly becoming one of the biggest expenses to our health care system. A single patient on dialysis can cost around $75,000 per year. $390,000 vs even a small handful of reduced diabetes cases would be a huge savings to the state. Expand that out to the entire state, and we could see significants savings.

Yet the beverage companies, specifically the two large soda companies, are in no mood to see such regulation. They don’t want to break the myth of having a good time with a refreshing beverage, or “quenching your thirst” with a “sports drink.” But with the threat of a soda tax in San Francisco, any small crack in the armor is not something that the beverage industry can tolerate. All this despite the fact that big majorities of likely voters favor the warnings.

Even if it would save lives, in today’s climate, the corporate bottom line takes priority.  

Field: Californians Support Further Regulation of Sugar Beverages

Added sugar leads to profound health risks

by Brian Leubitz

Last year, under a flood of beverage industry money, two proposed sugary beverage taxes were easily defeated in Richmond and El Monte. However, Californians are still wary of the health risks that they present. To wit:

California voters endorse a proposal to require beverage companies to post a health-warning label on sodas and sugary drinks to alert consumers that their daily consumption contributes to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay. Statewide 74% of voters back this requirement, of whom 52% do so strongly. Support is bipartisan, with large majorities of Democrats (80%), Republicans (64%) and non-partisans (75%) endorsing the idea.

The poll also finds continuing support among the statewide voting public to tax the sale of sodas and other sugary drinks and use its proceeds for school nutrition and physical activity programs for kids. Two in three voters (67%) favor this proposal. The results are similar to a Field Poll completed in late 2012, which found 68% of voters statewide supporting such a tax. (Field (PDF))

Unfortunately, the beverage industry isn’t keen on leaving anything to chance. And now San Francisco, led by Supervisors Scott Wiener, Eric Mar and Malia Cohen, are looking to put exactly such a measure on the ballot for November. The statewide poll found that within the San Francisco Bay Area, 78% of residents favor a soda tax to fund school nutrition and physical activity programs to reduce diabetes. San Francisco voters support it, but will all that Coke and Pepsi money be enough to confuse the issue.

Look, there are clearly some issues with the regressiveness of the sugar beverage tax. I don’t have the exact figures on this, but one would expect to see that under the proposed measure, low to middle income San Franciscans would pay a far larger share of the tax than for other taxes. However, that is also the case with tobacco taxes, yet we tolerate those. The fact is that while sugary beverages have not yet been proved to be as dangerous as tobacco, they carry very severe health risks. The Boston Public Health Commission has some startling statistics.

  • One, 20-oz bottle of regular soda has about 16 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Teens consume twice as much soda as they do milk.
  • On an average day, 80% of youth consume a sugary drink.
  • A single, 20-ounce bottle of regular soda has about 16 teaspoons of sugar.
  • The average person consumes almost 100 pounds of sugar a year, with the single biggest source being sodas.
  • The American Heart Association recommends that the maximum daily intake of added sugars be no more than 4.5 teaspoons for teens aged 12-19.
  • Did you know, health costs of obesity in the United States are $147 billion annually? That’s like buying everyone in the U.S. an iPad.
  • Economists call such taxes a case of “internalizing externalities.” In other words, the government has been subsidizing these beverages, in the form of health care, for years. It is now time to include those costs in the price of the beverage.

    State Senator Dean Florez urges President, Governor to Focus on Sugar Threat

    Childhood risk of Type 2 diabetes, obesity soaring with soda overconsumption

    SACRAMENTO — Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter), who last week introduced legislation aimed at curbing the rampant overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, is calling on our Governor and an esteemed former President to confront the issue head-on tomorrow at the 2010 Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity.

    President Bill Clinton and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are scheduled to join together tomorrow for a conference at The California Endowment in Los Angeles to promote “Action for Healthy Living.”

    Florez is urging them to use the occasion to raise public awareness of the role the overconsumption of sugar plays in exacerbating America’s obesity and diabetes epidemics.

    Florez introduced Senate Bill 1210 on Friday, with the number representing the fact that just one 12-ounce can of soda contains ten TEASPOONS of sugar.  Health experts consider 5-7 teaspoons a healthy amount of sugar for an adult to consume in an entire day, yet 62% of adolescents consume at least one soda every day of their young lives, leading to startling rates on Type 2 diabetes in youth.

    “I don’t think the average American understands the damage just one soda a day does to a young body, and the degree to which the threat of diabetes increases with each sugary sip.  These two men have the national profile and perfect platform to share information that could save children’s lives,”

    Florez said.

    “Given the Governor and President’s position on children’s health and physical education, and their partnership in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, it seems a natural that they would take the opportunity to impress upon kids how critical it is to make this positive change toward healthier lives now.”

    Comment: As a diabetic who knows first hand the damage diabetes can cause, well beyond the social stigma and impact on life events, for example: obtaining a job or earning a promotion, this proposed legislation addresses a major health crisis at the core. I am most pleased to see this bill! I know if it passes and becomes law, the damage to your health, or that of your children will be reduced and/or avoided.  Our YOUTH will not be “earning” diabetes before they earn a HIGH SCHOOL DEGREE. Thank You Senator!