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Controlling the Health of America
Obesity has become a major health issue in the US. Currently 66% of the adult population is overweight with over 30% being considered obese. The percentage of children with obesity in the United States has tripled since the 1970’s. Today one in five school-age children (ages 6-19) is considered obese. One of the major causes for the increases in adult and childhood obesity rates is the consumption of high sugar content beverages (primarily soda type beverages). In an effort to try and stem the tide in the rise in obesity, states and/or cities are implementing taxes on these sugary drinks.
- Read the most current articles regarding soda taxes by clicking on the following links. (Links to an external site.).
- The law passed by San Francisco in 2015 would require beverage advertisements within city limits to include warnings that drinking sugary drinks contribute to health issues and is part of a campaign to reduce consumption of sweet beverages as a way to combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay.
- (Links to an external site.)
- In June, 2018, the state of California struck a bargain with the major soda companies that would prevent cities from imposing any new taxes on groceries (soda, beverages, etc..) until 2030, effectively reducing the effect of the Berkeley tax had on soda sales and the lost revenue.
- Just recently in January 2019, the federal court blocked San Francisco law requiring health warnings on advertisements for soda and other sugary drinks, arguing that the law violates constitutionally protected commercial speech.
- Two recent studies (Feb. and May 2019, JAMA) state that the taxes may actually be working in reducing consumption of sugary beverages.
Some say that this is an example of government control, while other applaud the decision. You still have the freedom of choice, drink sodas and sugary drinks if you want or don’t drink them.
Should cities be allowed to implement such a tax? Support your position with the evidence you find most compelling.
If you are for the tax, state the ways in which you think the tax revenue will best be spent.
If you are against the tax, try to suggest alternative ways of dealing with the obesity and diabetes epidemics.
Expert Solution Preview
The issue of obesity has become a prominent health concern in the United States. With a significant portion of the population being overweight or obese, there is a need for effective strategies to combat this problem. One proposed solution is the implementation of taxes on sugary beverages, which are considered one of the major contributors to obesity rates. In this essay, we will explore whether cities should be allowed to implement such a tax, considering the evidence supporting both sides of the argument. Additionally, we will discuss the potential use of tax revenue if one supports the tax, or suggest alternative approaches to address the obesity and diabetes epidemics for those who are against the tax.
The decision regarding whether cities should be allowed to implement taxes on sugary beverages is a complex issue with considerations from multiple perspectives. Those in favor of the tax argue that it can effectively reduce the consumption of high-sugar drinks, thereby addressing the obesity epidemic. The evidence supporting this position includes recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which indicate that such taxes have been successful in reducing the consumption of sugary beverages.
These studies offer compelling evidence for the effectiveness of soda taxes in decreasing the consumption of high-sugar drinks, which in turn can potentially lead to a reduction in obesity rates. By decreasing the affordability and accessibility of these beverages, taxes may discourage individuals, especially children, from consuming excessive amounts of sugary drinks. This, in turn, may have a positive impact on public health, aiming to combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay, as it was addressed in San Francisco’s 2015 law requiring health warning on soda advertisements.
If one supports the tax, it is important to consider how the generated revenue can be best utilized. One proposed approach is to allocate the tax revenue towards public health initiatives. This may include funding programs that promote education and awareness about the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Additionally, these funds can be used to facilitate access to nutritious foods, especially in low-income communities where obesity rates tend to be higher. Investing in community-based initiatives, such as subsidized gym memberships or free exercise classes, may also help individuals adopt healthier habits.
On the other hand, those against the tax argue that it represents unnecessary government control over personal choices. They believe that individuals should be free to make their own decisions when it comes to their consumption habits. Moreover, they argue that a tax on sugary beverages may disproportionately affect low-income individuals who rely on these beverages due to their affordability. For those who oppose the tax, alternative approaches to address the obesity and diabetes epidemics should be considered.
One alternative approach could involve implementing comprehensive education campaigns that promote nutritional literacy and encourage individuals to make healthier choices. This can be done through collaborations between healthcare professionals, educational institutions, and community organizations. By empowering individuals with accurate knowledge about nutrition, they can make informed decisions about their diet and lifestyle. Additionally, emphasizing the importance of physical activity and making it more accessible to all individuals, regardless of socioeconomic status, can also be a part of this approach.
In conclusion, the issue of whether cities should be allowed to implement taxes on sugary beverages is a multifaceted one. While evidence suggests that such taxes can be effective in reducing the consumption of high-sugar drinks, it is important to consider alternative approaches for those who oppose this taxation strategy. Ultimately, addressing the obesity and diabetes epidemics requires a comprehensive approach that incorporates education, accessibility to nutritious foods, and a supportive environment for individuals to make healthier choices.