Medical Groups Call for Taxes on Sodas and Sugary Drinks

They want the taxes to help curb childhood obesity.


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Two major health organizations are calling for taxes on sugary drinks and other measures to help curb childhood obesity and related health risks. 

In a joint policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, children's health experts are asking legislators to regulate the price of sugary drinks and how they can be marketed. 

"There's a huge difference between what a typical child is drinking ... and what the recommendations are," statement lead author Natalie Muth told NPR.

The average child is taking in 12 ounces of sugary drinks while recommended amounts come at no more than 8 ounces per week.

Muth told U.S. News & World Report that those extra sugars add up over the course of the year.

"The average kid is getting about 30 pounds of sugar from sugary drinks per year, which is enough to fill a small bathtub," she said. "We're not talking about a small problem here, or a small amount of intake from drinks. It's a huge amount."

To curb this problem, the policy statement recommends that officials find ways to raise the price of sugary drinks via taxes or other means, block marketing of sugar-filled drinks to children, add healthy options to children's menus and vending machines, among other discouraging measures.

"As a nation we have to say 'no' to the onslaught of marketing of sugary drinks to our children," University of Vermont professor emeritus of nutrition Rachel Johnson said in a statement. "We know what works to protect kids' health and it's time we put effective policies in place that bring down rates of sugary drinks consumption, just like we've done with tobacco."

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