Saturday 20th March 2021
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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sugary beverages are the primary source of added sugar in the American diet, especially among people living in poverty and belonging to racial / ethnic minorities. Fifty percent (50%) of the excess calories consumed by Americans come from sugary beverages.
Out of all the states and Washington DC, Rhode Island ranks 11th in childhood obesity. The average child consumes enough sugary drinks to fill a bathtub each year – over 30 gallons.
Heavy consumption of sugary drinks has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and tooth decay, and gout, according to the CDC. Such poor health outcomes add to the skyrocketing healthcare costs in Rhode Island.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association have issued a number of recommendations, including increasing the price of sugary beverages through an excise tax, the revenue of which is dedicated to “reducing health and socioeconomic disparities.”
Senator Dawn Euer and Rep. Lauren Carson take up this recommendation and are co-sponsors of SB0327 and HB 5715, which as stated:
– Improving access to and promoting consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables among Rhode Island’s most vulnerable populations.
– Improving the general health and well-being of families, children, and residents of Rhode Island.
– Reduce the financial burden of chronic disease in our ocean state.
The sugary beverage taxes would go to a fund administered by the Department of Human Services to promote healthy food access and nutrition to SNAP recipients in Rhode Island who receive credits for buying fresh fruits and vegetables would. This is precisely the group that is suffering from the worst health outcomes.
The bill is currently under review in the Finance Committee, but it needs your support – for the health of our state and our community.
Write or call our representatives, co-sponsors Lauren Carson and Dawn Euer, and finance committee chairman Marvin Abney.
John Hirschboeck is a Newport resident and community member.