The NYT said President Obama’s position on the New York plan is “unclear” and that it puts him in "an awkward situation.”
First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity program calls for Americans to “drink less soda or sugar-sweetened drinks.”
New York officials say sugary drinks are the single biggest contributor to the obesity epidemic. They are marketed heavily to children who acquire a lifelong “sweet tooth,” say the critics.
Athlete endorsements and “brilliant” coloring help to “hook” the children, they add.
President Obama has said that Americans drink “way too much soda” and that taxing soda is “an idea that we should be exploring.”
PR a ‘No Show’ in NYT Article
The NYT sought comment from Susan Davidson, Kraft director of corporate affairs, and Kirstie Foster, General Mills director of corporate PR. Both refused.
Kraft products include, besides cheese and candy (Cadbury), Kool-Aid and Oreo cookies.
Davidson sent the NYT to the Food Research and Action Center and Foster suggested the Grocery Mfrs. Assn.
Brian Kennedy, spokesman for the GMA, referred questions to two other trade groups, the Food Marketing Institute and the National Grocers Assn., both of which object to Bloomberg’s proposal.
California health officials say the state is in a fiscal crisis and cannot afford the costs of obesity driven by highly profitable soda companies who especially target youth.
Assemblyman Bill Monning last week said he is “temporarily” giving up on his bill to tax sugared drinks at the rate of a penny per-ounce.
The GOP-controlled Assembly requires a two-thirds majority to pass such a law and the “Republicans adamantly oppose any such new tax,” said the Sacramento Bee.
Said Monning: “I remain committed to educating the public about the dangers of sugary drinks?the biggest contributor to current obesity trends.” He said the state “must avoid a future influx of chronically ill adults into an already overstressed healthcare sytstem.”
The California Center for Public Health Advocacy says 56% of state adults are overweight as well as 28% of the children and there has been a “dramatic rise” in chronic diseases such as diabetes which costs the state $41 billion a year.
Dr. Harold Goldstein of the CCPHA said half of African-American and Latino children and one-third of Caucasian children born in 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes under current trends.
CCPHA has focused on the role of sugary beverages in the obesity epidemic.
Nationally, 12.5 million children and teens or 16.9% are “obese,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The Wall St. Journal had a feature April 29 on Maine’s campaign to get children to eliminate “sugary drinks” from their diets.
— Jack O’Dwyer