BMSG statement on DeLauro SWEET Act

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Statement by BMSG Director Lori Dorfman, DrPH

March 27, 2015 — Berkeley Media Studies Group applauds Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) for her reintroduction yesterday of legislation that would help curb consumption of soda and other sugary beverages linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. With an alarming number of drinks containing more added sugar than the American Heart Association's recommended daily limit, The SWEET (Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax) Act is an important step toward protecting the public's health. The bill, which is the same as legislation DeLauro put forward last year, would not only raise about $10 billion a year for programs aimed at preventing nutrition-related diseases, it would go a long way toward changing the norms responsible for fueling those diseases in the first place.

In fact, the mere introduction of the SWEET Act helps advance public health. As was the case during the early days of tobacco control, efforts to rein in sugary drinks are both controversial and aggressively opposed by industry. Like tossing a pebble into a river, each one initially disappears beneath the swift — and well-funded — current of opposition. But with each new pebble that gets tossed in, the public becomes more familiar with the issue, support for policy change grows, and before long, we have a bridge that we can walk right across.

When that happens and we look back from the other side, it will be hard to believe that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages was ever so highly contested.

About Berkeley Media Studies Group

Berkeley Media Studies Group researches the way public health issues are characterized in the media and helps community groups, journalists and advocates use the media to advance healthy public policy. BMSG is a project of the Public Health Institute.

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