Statement from Nancy Brown, CEO of American Heart Association, on CA Results of Ballot Measures for Sugary Drink Taxes

Berkeley delivered a big win for not only the health of their children, but children across the country

November 05, 2014 Categories: Advisories & Comments, Program News

DALLAS, TX (November 5, 2014)—“The American Heart Association is dedicated to ensuring all Americans have access to health in every part of their daily lives. We fight for clean air. We fight for better health care. And we fight to see the obesity and diabetes epidemics reversed in our nation.

Today the voters of Berkeley, California, delivered a big win for not only the health of their children, but children across the country by demonstrating that cities and their residents have the power to initiate positive change.  We commend Berkeley for rejecting the big spending and false arguments of outsiders and standing up for what they knew was right for their community. Sugary drinks are an unnecessary part of the American diet that decades ago were just a treat and are now guzzled at alarming rates. From sports drinks to sodas to fruit-flavored drinks, today’s children are drinking their age in these sugary drinks each week. Evidence shows adults should not consume more than about 36 ounces, or 450 calories, each week. Yet the average 8-year-old boy consumes 8 servings, or 64 ounces, each week. Reducing consumption will improve rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The AHA is proud to stand side-by-side with the people of Berkeley as they become the first city in our nation to take on a bold initiative that will provide further evidence to the effectiveness of taxing sugary drinks at a penny per ounce. We applaud Berkeley and look forward to sharing what is learned from this initiative in the coming years.

In addition, the people of San Francisco clearly voiced their interest and support for increasing the price of sugary drinks. A majority of voters chose health in spite of an onslaught of over 10 million dollars in negative advertising from the beverage industry. Policymakers across the country should take note that the majority of voters in both of these cities supported a significant increase in the price of sugary drinks in order to address the dual epidemics of obesity and diabetes we face as a nation.”

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Media Contact:
Suzette Harris -- Suzette.harris@heart.org
American Heart Association Communications -214.706.1173