Fighting Obesity Through a Sugary Soda Tax

The Coalition for Action on Obesity – of which MHA is a member – recognized National Obesity Care Week last Wednesday with a presentation at the State House and release of a white paper from the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation. 
The paper calls for re-energizing the national agenda on prevention and treatment through access to structured lifestyle interventions such as the Diabetes Prevention Program; support for appropriate use of obesity medications; and addressing stubborn societal attitudes regarding obesity. Major medical societies such as the American Medical Association have declared obesity to be a chronic, treatable disease.
Among the recommendations of the white paper was a call to address obesity through public health regulation and programming. MHA continues to advocate for legislation, such as HB2529/SB1709, An Act to Promote Healthy Alternatives to Sugary Drinks, sponsored by Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton) and Sen. Jason Lewis (D-Winchester). That bill would implement a tiered-tax on non-alcoholic, sugar-sweetened beverages based upon the drink’s sugar content. Proceeds from the tax would help fund a variety of community health initiatives. The healthcare community, alarmed by the rapidly increasing rates of diabetes and obesity, and armed with numerous studies proving the link between those health problems and sugary drinks, is a strong advocate for the tax.