Last June, California lawmakers introduced a bill requiring soft drinks to be labeled with a warning linking the drinks to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. The bill was defeated by the state assembly. Now New York is following in California s footsteps. A Brooklyn lawmaker, Assemblyman Karim Camara, is proposing this same bill, which would require sugary drinks to carry the label: Safety Warning: Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
If approved, regular sodas and other drinks containing added sugars would be labeled. The size of the drink would dictate the size of the label: the bigger the size, the bigger the label. Diet drinks and those drinks with no added sugars would not be labeled.
Mayor de Blasio s administration approves this action. According to a spokesperson for Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, Government action to address the dangers of sugary drinks is crucial, as the epidemics of obesity and diabetes continue to wreak havoc on the health of our communities. In New York, over half of adults are overweight (34 percent) or obese (22 percent) and one in five kindergarten students are obese.
As ACSH s Ariel Savransky has said before, Putting warning labels on soft drinks is not going to curb the obesity epidemic. This bill unfairly demonizes soft drinks as being the sole cause for obesity. This is not the case. A calorie is a calorie no matter what form it takes. Consuming excess calories, no matter the source, is going to contribute to weight gain. Instead of spending money on passing bills of this nature, money should be spent to educate consumers about the benefits of consuming a balanced diet everything in moderation and exercising regularly.