Physician groups suggest increasing taxes on sugary drinks that target children

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DENVER — New recommendations by two physicians groups are targeting sugary drinks.

The American Academy of Pediatricians and the American Heart Association released a policy statement suggesting new sugary drink taxes, ad limits, and better labeling.

Soda, coffee drinks, sports drinks and juice can all have added sugars.  Doctors say drinking too much of them can lead to childhood obesity, heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Brooke Pengel at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children applauds this new call for action.

“This is a big deal for the long-term health,” Pengel said.  “Historically that helped with the cigarette industry.”

The two organizations also want water and milk to be the default beverages on children’s menus.

But not everyone is on board.  The American Beverage Association points out that obesity rates are rising at the same time soda consumption is decreasing.  The ABA released this statement:

“America’s beverage companies believe there’s a better way to help reduce the amount of sugar consumers get from beverages and it includes putting parents in the driver’s seat to decide what’s best for their children. We are supporting parents who want less sugar in their kids’ diets by creating more drinks than ever before with less or no sugar, as well as smaller portion sizes, and by backing efforts to make water, milk or 100 percent juice and reduced calorie juice the default beverages restaurants serve with children’s meals. Today, 50 percent of all beverages sold contain zero sugar as we drive toward a goal of reducing beverage calories consumed by 20 percent by 2025.”

In Colorado, cities like Boulder already have a sugary drink tax.

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