Field poll shows broad voter support for health warning labels on sugar sweetened beverages

February 20, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health 

Sacramento- The California Medical Association (CMA) is pleased to see the recently released poll figures suggesting that California voters support the notion of applying health-warning labels on sodas and other sugar sweetened beverages.

The poll, which was conducted by The Field Poll and The California Endowment, found that 74 percent of voters support the requirement to apply health warning labels to sugar sweetened beverages, with 52 percent of voters “strongly” endorsing the requirement. Support for the labeling of potentially harmful beverages was also bipartisan, with 80 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of non-partisan voters endorsing the labeling requirement.

These results come only a week after Senate Bill 1000, the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was introduced in the state legislature. The bill, authored by state Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and co-sponsored by CMA, would require bottles, cans, vending machines, dispensers and restaurateurs offering high calorie drinks with added sugar to display a warning label outlining the health risks associated with such beverages.

“California voters are now echoing what the scientific and medical communities have been saying for some time, that sugar sweetened beverages pose serious, and unique, health risks and should be treated as such,” said Richard Thorp, M.D., president of the California Medical Association.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet, making up at least 43 percent of the 300 additional calories added to the average American’s daily consumption since the 1970s. These beverages are also one of the leading causes of preventable diabetes, a disease which has seen its rate among American adults double over the past 30 years.

If current obesity trends continue, one in three children born today is expected to develop preventable diabetes in their lifetime. The problem is worse for communities of color, where nearly half of children born since 2000 would develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime should current trends continue.


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