Legislation recently proposed in California would require health warning labels on soda and other sugary beverages.
A bill proposed by California state senator William Monning would require any beverage with added sweeteners that has 75 or more calories per 12 ounces to carry a warning label about health risks. The label would read: STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. According to Monning, “When the science is this conclusive, the state of California has a responsibility to take steps to protect consumers,” Reuters reports. Monning said the warning label, like those on alcohol and tobacco products, will give Californians the information they need to make “healthier choices.”
Backers of the bill include the California Medical Association, the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, and the California Black Health Network, Reuters reports.
According to the American Beverage Association, Americans get more sugar from sweets and desserts than they do from soda and sugary drinks, with soda, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks making up only six percent of the calories in an average American’s diet while sweets and desserts account for 11 percent, according to Reuters. CalBev, California’s branch of the American Beverage Association, participates in the “Clear on Calories” campaign, a program that details a beverage product’s calorie count and ingredients.
But medical groups supporting the bill differ sharply with the beverage association’s numbers, saying that over the past 30 years sugary drinks have become the largest source of extra calories in Americans’ diets. A soda a day, health experts say, increases an adult’s risk of being overweight by 27 percent and a child’s risk by 55 percent, according to Reuters.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculates that in the U.S. population more than a third of all adults and nearly 17 percent of children between 2 and 19 are obese, Reuters reports. Unless trend is reversed, health advocates warn, one in three children born after the year 2000, and nearly half of Latino and African-American children, will develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes. Studies show that obesity increases many health risks, including heart disease, asthma, and cancer, and health problems associated with obesity are expensive for individuals and strain the healthcare system.