Will Sugar Drinks Eventually be Taxed?

I read an article in this Sunday’s Tribune entitled, Many are no longer sweet on soft drinks. I was intrigued by the title, but mostly its byline: Communities, hospitals and others coast to coast are considering bans or taxes to curb consumption and combat obesity.

That’s a bold move considering every American consumes roughly 150 pounds of sugar a year (according to Dr. Oz).  The article mainly talks about adding taxes to sodas or banning sugary drinks from vending machines in hospitals, parks, and libraries. New York City is even talking about banning super-sized drinks from restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting events.

This got me thinking: Shouldn’t schools also be included in this “push”? If some hospitals in Chicago can replace energy drinks and sodas with bottled water, why can’t we do that in our public schools? Don’t these soda companies make bottled water too? I know that schools get some kickback for having vending machines in their buildings.  But why can’t these machines be filled with water and low-sugar juices?

If this idea is bogus, what about educating parents and children as to how much sugar they are drinking? Some hospitals in Boston are putting nutrition labels on the fountain drinks that show how much sugar is about to be consumed.  When I taught a one-week unit on nutrition (in one of my business classes) my favorite website to show my students was Sugar Stacks. This site gives you a visual as to how much sugar you are consuming for popular foods (cookies, soda, veggies, etc.).

I found it interesting that other popular drinks weren’t mentioned in the article. Mainly: Major coffee brand’s iced coffees and “milkshakes”.  How hard would these companies be hit if there was a ban or tax on its delicious creations?

How do you feel about banning or taxing sugary drinks? Is it so bad that lawmakers have to get involved? Do we need better nutrition education at the primary level?   

 Image from: New Public Health