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Hearing Will Explore Link Between Sodas And Obesity

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Aired 11/2/09

The Senate Health Committee will hold a hearing in Los Angeles this week on the relationship between soft drinks and obesity. A recent report from UCLA suggests there's a strong link between the two.

A heavyset man passes cartons of Coca-Cola displayed in a grocery store in Des Plaines, Illinois.
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Above: A heavyset man passes cartons of Coca-Cola displayed in a grocery store in Des Plaines, Illinois.

— The Senate Health Committee will hold a hearing in Los Angeles this week on the relationship between soft drinks and obesity. A recent report from UCLA suggests there's a strong link between the two.

The UCLA report provides detailed information on soda consumption in California.

In finds teenagers are the largest consumers of soft drinks. It also finds one out of five San Diego adults drink at least soda a day.

UCLA researcher Susan Babey wrote the report.

"For adults, those who drink one or more sodas a day, they are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese compared to adults who don't drink any soda," Babey said.

The Senate committee hearing will discuss options for reducing soda consumption, including a special tax. Supporters say a soda tax would help reduce sales. But critics argue sodas aren't the only factor in obesity.

Comments

Avatar for user 'jlibonati'

jlibonati | November 3, 2009 at 4:17 p.m. ― 4 years, 11 months ago

It’s very true. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased drastically in both adults and children over the past thirty years. While we know the long-term health consequences of being at least overweight include cardiovascular disease, trying to dissuade consumers from “drinking discretionary calories” through taxation is the obvious wrong action.
For one, we know that a single nutrient, regardless of how it’s been tampered with in the media, is not responsible for our enlarged states of weight. We know this to be factual since all calories count-that is both “good” and “bad” calories, and not just an essential nutrient such as sugar. Second, obesity is a multi-causal disease, and proving a direct link between “it” and soda consumption is not causal, but rather correlative. Third, consumption of sweetened beverages such as soda accounts for less than 6% of total daily calories consumed. In fact, other calories such as those in foods consumed, which account for the great majority, are likely to significantly contribute. Fourth, portion sizes, which have increased and are likely to continue to increase as consumer love more for less, address the sincere need for nutrition education. What to eat, when to eat, how much, and how often, are key links in preventing obesity. Simply paying more for a product does nothing to inform and educate the consumer, nor will it dissuade a purchase. Besides, hasn’t the price of sugar sweetened drinks increased significantly over the past three decades? As a consultant to the food and beverage industry and a Registered Dietitian (RD), it’s about balance and learning that 150 calories of soda, ice cream, or French fries, is not going to cause obesity!

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