AMA Supports Soda Tax, On One Condition

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While there is no silver bullet that will alone reverse the meteoric rise of obesity, there are many things we can do to fight this epidemic and improve the health of our nation.  Improved consumer education on the adverse health effects of excessive consumption of beverages containing added sweeteners should be a key part of any multifaceted campaign to combat obesity.

Where taxes are implemented on sugar-sweetened beverages, using revenue for anti-obesity programs and educational campaigns explaining the adverse effects of excessive consumption of these beverages will help to reduce the consumption of these caloric beverages and improve public health.

~ Dr. Alexander Ding, AMA board member

Its clear from this statement that the AMA is not fully embracing a soda tax.  The emphasis should be on educating the public about the health risks of chugging sugary soda day after day, and the benefits of replacing soda with water.

The AMA is saying that a soda tax may be effective as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce obesity in our nation, and it would not go very far on its own.  Also, if Dr. Ding’s statement is representative of the AMA’s position, the focus is not on whether or not a soda tax should be implemented, but what to do with the funds should that be the case.  Nobody believes that a soda tax would curb consumption to the point that we no longer have a problem with sugar and obesity.  The real value in a soda tax would be the projects and programs that could be funded if the money is spent responsibly.