A LEADING US cancer lobby group is urging the Surgeon General to conduct a sweeping study of the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on consumer health, saying such drinks play major role in the nation's obesity crisis and require a US action plan.
In a letter to US Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the American Cancer Society's advocacy affiliate on Tuesday called for a comprehensive review along the lines of the US top doctor's landmark report on the dangers of smoking in 1964.
"An unbiased and comprehensive report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages could have a major impact on the public's consciousness and perhaps begin to change the direction of public behaviour in their choices of food and drinks," American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network wrote.
The role of sugar-sweetened drinks such as soft drinks -sometimes called soda - sports drinks, teas and juices in the US diet has drawn fresh attention in the wake of a New York City plan announced in May that would limit the cup sizes for such beverages to 16 ounces.
Its proposal has reverberated elsewhere across the United States, where two-thirds of people are overweight or obese and health costs are spiraling. Other cities and towns are also looking at ways to curb consumption, citing the need to improve the public health and save money.
The beverage industry, which includes The Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo Inc and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc, has defended its products even as it has moved to sell other options that consumers see as healthier. Some of those drinks, however, also contain as much sugar and calories as soda.
"We already have studies from the federal government and independent third parties that demonstrate soft drinks are not a unique or significant contributor to obesity," said Karen Hanretty, a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Association.Reuters
Thursday, July 5, 2012
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