Jul 31, 2014
11:05 AM
The Connecticut Story

DeLauro Proposes 1-Cent Tax on Each Teaspoon of Sugar in Soft Drinks

DeLauro Proposes 1-Cent Tax on Each Teaspoon of Sugar in Soft Drinks

U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro.

With high rates of obesity, diabetes and related illnesses prevailing across the United States, U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro on Wednesday proposed the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act, or SWEET Act.

It may not pass in a Republican-dominated House, but the idea of putting a 1-cent tax on each teaspoon of sugar in soft drinks, as the bill calls for, is “a serious piece of legislation; it’s not a statement” in a time when people are concerned about nutrition, said DeLauro, D-3.

In the last 30 years “you’ve seen a very substantial increase in obesity and diabetes in the United States. The statistics are really pretty extraordinary,” DeLauro said Wednesday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DeLauro said, obesity rates have risen since the 1970s from 15 percent to 34.9 percent of adults in 2012, tripling among children.

The rates are even higher for African-American, Hispanic and low-income communities, with more than 40 percent of each group suffering obesity. Spending on related health problems costs the nation $190 billion a year, DeLauro said, much of it paid by Medicare and Medicaid.

With “a very, very strong link between consumption and disease,” DeLauro said she’s introducing the bill “at a moment … where there’s a heightened interest by the public in nutrition.”

According to the bill, the money would be used for “prevention, treatment and research of diet-related health conditions in priority populations, and for other purposes.”

Marlene B. Schwartz, director of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, said, “The research is quite clear that a very significant causal factor in obesity as well as childhood diabetes (and) other metabolic and cardiovascular problems is sugary drinks. … There’s no debate that it’s important for people to reduce sugary drinks.”

See the full story at the New Haven Register.


DeLauro Proposes 1-Cent Tax on Each Teaspoon of Sugar in Soft Drinks

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