“Fifteen health organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday in hopes that the beverage industry’s appeal of a sugar tax will fall flat,” American Heart Association News reports. Among the fifteen organizations: the American Medical Association, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health.
Alas, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is not among the fifteen health organizations. An unfortunate missed opportunity to take a public stand (on an issue that isn’t considered very controversial within the public health world).
* “Philadelphia’s 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened drinks survived a major challenge in December from the beverage industry, after a city judge dismissed the group’s lawsuit. The beverage industry filed an appeal last month.”
* “The health groups’ brief was filed by the Public Health Law Center on behalf of the American Heart Association and 14 leading public health and medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. The science-based filing outlines support for taxing sugary drinks in Philadelphia, which has some of the highest rates of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity among large cities.”
* “The Philadelphia beverage tax helps us combat the city’s twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes,” said Thomas Farley, M.D., Philadelphia’s health commissioner. “We’re very gratified that the American Heart Association — the nation’s leading voice on heart disease and stroke — recognizes the value of the tax to the health of Philadelphia’s residents and is standing with us against this soda industry-funded lawsuit.”
* “While the tax in Philadelphia includes both regular and diet beverages, the AHA has been most focused on reducing consumption of sugary drinks. Those include non-diet soft drinks and sodas, flavored juice drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, coffee drinks, energy drinks and electrolyte replacement drinks. Philadelphians consume on average half a liter a day — well above the Food and Drug Administration and AHA’s recommended limits for added sugars.”
* “The brief highlights the fact that obesity is “among the most burdensome” public health issues facing the country. Obesity has been proven to reduce the length of life of people who are severely obese by five to 20 years. Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other problems, even for those who don’t gain weight, according to the AHA.”