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American Public Health Association (APHA) backs Richmond soda tax

The press release was received this afternoon, and appears below. Jeff Ritterman recently spoke to the APHA about Measure N in Richmond, which would tax business a penny-per-ounce of sugar-sweetened beverage sales.

 

Federal, State and Local Tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) Endorsed by Nation’s Oldest, Largest Public Health Organization

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, October 31, 2012…Faced with a national obesity crisis largely driven by the consumption of sugary beverages, the country’s oldest and largest public health organization, the American Public Health Association (APHA), voted yesterday to endorse federal, state and local taxes on sugar sweetened beverages.

With over 13,000 physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists and related health specialists in attendance here at their annual meeting, the APHA approved the landmark resolution, recognizing it as a means of reducing consumption of the sugar sweetened beverages that contribute 48 percent of added sugar to American diets. In the resolution, the APHA pointed out that roughly two-thirds of adults are overweight, and taxes on high calorie, low nutrient sugary beverages are a wise way to address this costly health issue.

“Decisive public health policy measures must be implemented to counteract the enormous consumption of sugar sweetened beverages among children and adults in the United States,” said Dr. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), who co-authored the resolution.

The APHA says that these taxes would raise funds for obesity prevention, pointing out that the most commonly proposed tax amount of a penny per ounce would annually raise over $13 billion nationally. At the same time, reduced consumption could rein in health care spending on obesity and overweight related illnesses, which accounts for as much as $168 billion per year, or 16.5 percent of total U.S. medical expenditures.

If it helps reduce consumption, a tax on SSBs could be of greatest benefit to lower-income populations, the APHA asserts, countering the beverage industry’s argument that such a tax would be regressive.

The American Public Health Association is the oldest organization of public health professionals in the world and has been working to improve public health since 1872. For more about APHA, visit www.apha.org. CCPHA is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization leading efforts in California to understand and address the state’s growing obesity crisis. For more about CCPHA, visit: www.publichealthadvocacy.org.

Robert Rogers