PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some of the largest physician groups are calling for a higher tax on sugary drinks to help fight the obesity epidemic. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Heart Association joined forces on Monday, saying a tax on drinks that contain sugar can help reduce consumption and make children healthier.
Sixty-three percent of American children consume at least one sugary drink every day, that equals out to about 30 gallons a year, which is a bathtub full of sugar.
It’s blamed, in part, for the obesity epidemic and many other health problems like heart disease and diabetes. It’s not just soda — sports drinks, teas and many juices are loaded with extra sugar.
Citing concern about children’s health, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association are now calling for sugary-drink taxes, similar to what Philadelphia has already instituted.
The two organizations issued a joint policy statement endorsing widespread public health regulations to help reduce the amount of sugary drinks that kids consume. They also want limits on marketing to children and more precise nutritional information on packaging.
“While soda consumption has declined by a third, the obesity rates have increased by a quarter, so if obesity was solely related to soda, it should’ve also gone down if they were directly correlated,” said the American Beverage Association in a statement.
The association also says parents should be in the driver’s seat to decide what’s best for their children.
The Heart Association and Academy of Pediatrics added in its statement that parents should talk to their kids about healthy drink options and encourage them to drink mainly water and milk.
Doctors say it’s not just sugar in drinks that’s causing obesity as they also blame fattening low-nutrition food, a lack of physical activity, and poor sleep routines. In terms of the tax proposal, there is no indication of what happens next or where.