AMA supports obesity education

June 21, 2012 at 11:52 PM
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CHICAGO, June 22 (UPI) -- American Medical Association officials at their Chicago meeting said taxes on beverages with added sweeteners are one way to finance obesity-related programs.

Dr. Alexander Ding, an AMA board member, said numerous studies have shown intake of sugar-sweetened beverages has been strongly and consistency associated with increased body weight and a number of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

"Where taxes are implemented on sugar-sweetened beverages, using revenue for anti-obesity programs and educational campaigns explaining the adverse effects of excessive consumption of these beverages will help to reduce the consumption of these caloric beverages and improve public health," Ding said in a statement.

Sugar-sweetened beverages comprise nearly half of Americans' added sugar intake, and reducing consumption of these beverages is a simple way to reduce intake of added sugar and empty calories, Ding said.

However, the AMA also recognized that a number of factors contribute to the obesity epidemic.

"While there is no silver bullet that will alone reverse the meteoric rise of obesity, there are many things we can do to fight this epidemic and improve the health of our nation," Ding said. "Improved consumer education on the adverse health effects of excessive consumption of beverages containing added sweeteners should be a key part of any multifaceted campaign to combat obesity."

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