Past Articles

Soda Makers Use Tobacco Tactics

Obesity rates have been on the rise with current numbers indicating roughly 2 out of 3 adults and 1 out of 3 children are either overweight or obese. It's hugely concerning as obesity is directly responsible for many detrimental health conditions and in turn has devastating effects on healthcare costs. One of the known culprits for the increase in obesity rates is the increased consumption of sugary drinks such as soda. It's estimated that the average American consumes 56 gallons of sodas each year. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), American adults are consuming 22 teaspoons of sugar daily. For teens, the number shoots up to 34 teaspoons daily. Much of this sugar comes from soft drinks and candy. The AHA suggests adults should be eating no more than 6-9 teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, there's a large discrepancy. New U.S. dietary guidelines now recommend drinking water instead of sugary drinks like soda. A number of public awareness campaigns have been launched by local governments and health departments in order to educate the people about the negative effects of sugary drinks and fatty foods. So what do the large soda makers such as Coca Cola and Pepsi think about these efforts to educate the population and battle obesity? Similar to the past tactics of big tobacco, they're not going to sit idly by and watch our hired officials attempt to keep us healthy. They have increased their lobbying costs from $8 million in 2007 and 2008 to $60 million in 2009 and 2010. They've also targeted and attempted to cripple local governments by either issuing legal document requests or initiating lawsuits. In early July, the American Beverage Association (ABA) sued New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for their efforts in reducing local obesity rates. According to experts, these tactics come directly from the tobacco industry's playbook. So next time you crack that cool refreshing soda, aside from remembering the negative health effects such as an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, just remember you're also likely supporting a company that feel it's appropriate to pursue our local health agencies for doing the job we hired them to do - to keep us all healthy.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Reuters. July 20, 2011.