Sugary beverages are harming Americans and costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year… $200 billion to be exact. That’s 20 percent of our nation’s healthcare costs.
The average American consumes 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That’s over double of the recommended daily maximum amount! Evidence indicates clearly that sugar is the biggest source of added calories in the American diet today (beating out pizza). Sodas and other sugar sweetened beverages account for 50% of those sugar calories. Reducing soda consumption in the U.S. could be a huge step forward for the health of our nation.
Currently there is a bill in congress that could help to do just that. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2015 (SWEET Act) which would levy an excise tax of one cent per teaspoon of caloric sweetener—that’s about a dime per can of soda. This critically important legislation would make a modest dent in consumption (as we have seen effectively in Mexico) and most importantly, it would raise about $10 billion to help prevent and treat for sugar-related diseases.This bill is currently sitting in committee with very few co-sponsors and needs our help now.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
As consumers and voters, we have a say, and our representatives should be accountable. Use this form to send them a letter. Encourage your friends (online and off) to do the same so we can make sure that this important bill gets to the House floor for a vote. Make sure to write your name at the bottom of the body of the letter before you send it off.
“People want to be healthy and they want their kids to be healthy. But we are in the midst of dual epidemics, with obesity and diabetes afflicting our nation and the related, astronomical health care costs... We can’t rely on industry to deal with this voluntarily.” —Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
A personalized letter can be more effective:
- Before the first sentence, introduce yourself: include information about your professional credentials or personal experience, particularly if it has relevance to sugar sweetened beverages in any way (e.g. “I am a health teacher in a middle school”)
- After the second paragraph, add a professional opinion or a personal anecdote to explain why you are concerned about obesity, sugar consumption, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, public health in general or any other related topic (e.g. “I am often shocked at the amount of soda I see my students drink.” or “My mother has Type 2 diabetes and I see the incredible impact that it has on her life”)
STILL NOT CONVINCED?
Check out this compelling and creative video from CSPI, Center for Science in the Public Interest and when you do, please keep in mind Representative DeLauro's words. "We can’t rely on industry to deal with this voluntarily."