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Proposed Ban on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Could Save Billions

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Simple Low Cost Governmental Actions Can Slash Obesity and Its Huge Costs

WASHINGTON - eTradeWire -- A proposed ban on sugar-sweetened beverages for young children, along with a 40% reduction in sugar use for everyone, would be important first steps in reducing the nation's epidemic of obesity, and slashing the hundreds of billions which obesity annually costs Americans, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Banzhaf, who helped save millions of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary medical costs by prohibiting cigarette commercials and banning smoking in a growing number of workplaces and public places, has also been a leader in using legal action to fight obesity.

The committee formulating the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is recommending a complete ban on sugar-sweetened beverages for children up to 2 years of age.  This could be an important first step in reducing the current epidemic of childhood obesity, especially if parents continue the policy as the child get older, suggests Banzhaf.

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The committee also would further reduce the amount of added sugar in diets for adults as well as children from 10% to only 6%.

Sugar sweetened beverages are the top source of added and unnecessary sugars in America's diet, and the easiest to totally eliminate, he argues.

Meanwhile, a very recent study has proven how the U.S. can slash its obesity rate by taking the same simple steps which Chile took four years ago, and which other countries are beginning to follow.

It showed that a few simple measures have, for example, slashed consumption of sugary soft drinks - the major source of unnecessary sugar and calories in the diet of most teens - by almost 25%.

The new policies - which are already being copied in part by Peru, Uruguay, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, and other countries - include:

* Raising the tax on sugary soft drinks
* Advertising restrictions on unhealthy foods,
* bans on unhealthy food commercials from 6AM to 10PM

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* bold front-of-package black-box warning labels
* no more cartoons on sugary cereal boxes
* a ban on junk foods available in schools

If governments can require Americans to stay in their homes, shut many businesses, and put huge numbers of people out of work to combat only one disease, logically they should be willing to take much less intrusive and disruptive steps to reduce it, as well as other major causes of unnecessary deaths, disability, and massive medical costs by reducing obesity; e.g., by steps such as limiting commercials, adding  warning labels, banning cartoon figures, etc.

http://banzhaf.net/ jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com @profbanzhaf

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Source: Public Interest Law Professor John Banzhaf
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Filed Under: Food

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