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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Are You Ready for the Soda War?

I always love war analogies.

    The War on Drugs

    The War on Poverty 

    The battle lines have been drawn in the race for president!

    There’s a battle going on for the hearts and minds of our youth!

Here’s another one for you: The battle of the expanding waistlines! 

It seems that every day there is new cannon fire on the battle front. Soda executives saying soda is not the problem and they are for healthy lifestyles.  Some health officials say it’s okay to be a little overweight, while others say it is deadly.  Coco-Cola’s Health Statement    Top Science Journal Rebukes Harvard's Top Nutritionist

In the meantime, we are all shell shocked over what we should do.  
I can’t help but go back in history to look at what was going on with tobacco 50+ years ago. I’m sure many have seen the old ads that show doctors recommending cigarettes as a way to cure a raspy throat. Then every time the government wanted to curb cigarette smoking they would parade out a string of healthy smokers, and wave the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as their guarantee that they could sell whatever they wanted and say whatever they wanted about it. 

The tobacco ads were crafted to have anyone who saw them believe that they didn’t look good or couldn’t really have fun unless they were smoking a cigarette. This is very much like today’s soda ads which are designed to have anyone who sees them believe that they don't look good or can’t really have fun unless they are drinking a soda. And just like the cigarette ads never showed anyone dying of cancer, soda ads never show any obese people drinking sodas.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming years. But I will make a prediction that at some time in the not too distant future we will look back and say to ourselves things like: “Can you believe all the soda people used to drink?” or “Mother’s actually let their children drink as much of those sugary fruit drinks as they wanted because they were being told they were healthy.” 

I also wonder when the first person will file a lawsuit against a soda company for encouraging them to drink soda, which resulted in their obesity, then diabetes and then having a leg amputated or becoming blind.  So get out your shovels and start digging your foxholes. It’s going to be a long war.

Friday, May 17, 2013

California Soda Tax Committed to Addressing Obesity

Kudos to the San Diego Union Tribune for publishing an op-ed today and bringing to light why a soda tax can help curb California's obesity crisis. For moms like me, funding towards programs like this gives me hope that I have someone on my side to help me fight the suffocating marketing influences of the corporate giants. Maybe one day I won't feel like the bad mom who says no to sodas because as my children say, "What's the big deal? Everyone drinks them." I'm trying hard not to roll my eyes like Michelle Obama, but it is a big deal. 


Friday, May 3, 2013

California Soda Tax Wins Critical Health Committee Vote

A proposed statewide soda tax that would raise funds to fight childhood obesity moved closer to reality this week, after winning approval of the California Senate Health Committee. The 7 to 2 committee vote means the Sugary Drink Tax (Senate Bill 622) authored by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“The Senate Health Committee is rightfully concerned about the current childhood obesity crisis, which causes billions in preventable health care costs and lost economic output,” stated Senator Monning. “The Committee’s support demonstrates a desire to protect the health of our children and to mitigate the harmful effects of soda and other sugary drinks.”

The legislation, which won approval in the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance last week, would collect an excise tax of a penny per ounce on beverages distributed in California that have a high level of caloric sweetener, such as sodas, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks. The soda tax would raise an estimated $1.7 billion a year for a Childhood Prevention Obesity Fund that would, among other things, pay for nutrition education, park and recreation programs, PE teachers and improvements in school meals.

“Sugary drinks are the largest driver of the obesity crisis. Almost 40 percent of California children are overweight and one-third of all children, including half of Latino and African American children born in 2000, will have diabetes sometime in their lives. SB 622 is a critical step toward correcting that crisis, reducing consumption and paying for programs to help address the problems caused by these beverages,” said Dr. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which sponsors the bill.