Lautenberg Calls For Study Of Link Between Sugary Beverages & Obesity

Sen. Frank Lautenberg

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg isn’t quite following in the footsteps of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but he’s also targeting soda and other sugary beverages.

Lautenberg (D-NJ) today introduced an amendment to a Farm Bill requiring the federal government to study the possible link between sugary beverages and obesity in the United States. The study would also investigate how public health proposals that affect the cost and size of sugary beverages would impact obesity.

“We know that soda is a major source of bad calories for Americans, and it’s time for the federal government to determine whether these beverages are contributing to our nation’s obesity problem,” Lautenberg said. “Obesity is not merely an inconvenience—it’s a serious health hazard. With roughly one out of every three American children suffering the health impacts of being obese, we owe it to our kids and our country to learn more about what is causing this plague. We need to know what impact sugary drinks have on obesity and if proposals that encourage Americans to drink fewer high-sugar drinks will reduce obesity.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90 million people in the United States are overweight or obese, and obesity kills more than 110,000 Americans every year. The childhood obesity rate in the United States, where 31 percent of American children are overweight or obese, is one of the highest in the world. Between 1973 and 2008, the childhood obesity rate in the United States more than doubled, from 15 percent to nearly 32 percent of American children.

Lautenberg’s amendment is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, American Public Health Association, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Late last month, Bloomberg proposed a New York City ban sales of sweetened soda and other sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in restaurants, which earned national attention.

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