from Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks
are Harming Americans' Health
- Individuals and families should consider
how much soda pop they are drinking and reduce consumption accordingly. Parents should
stock their homes with healthful foods and beverages that family members enjoy.
- Physicians, nurses, and nutritionists
routinely should ask their patients how much soda pop they are drinking and advise them,
if appropriate, of dietary changes to make.
- Organizations concerned about women's and
children's health, dental and bone health, and heart disease should collaborate on
campaigns to reduce soft-drink consumption.
- Local, state, and federal governments
should be as aggressive in providing water fountains in public buildings and spaces as the
industry is in placing vending machines everywhere.
- State and local governments should
considering taxing soft drinks, as Arkansas, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia
already do. Arkansas raised $40 million in fiscal year 1998 from that tax. If all states
taxed soft drinks at Arkansas' rate (2 cents per 12-ounce can), they could raise $3
billion annually. Those revenues could fund campaigns to improve diets, build exercise
facilities (bike paths, swimming pools, etc.), and support physical-education programs in
- Local governments could require calorie
listings on menu boards at fast-food outlets and on vending machines to sensitize
consumers to the nutritional "cost" of sugared soft drinks and other foods.
- School systems and other organizations
catering to children should stop selling soft drinks, candy, and similar foods in
hallways, shops, and cafeterias.
- School systems and youth organizations
should not auction themselves off to the highest bidder for exclusive soft-drink marketing
rights. Those deals profit the companies and schools at the expense of the students'
- The National Academy of Sciences or Surgeon
General should review the impact of current and projected levels of soft-drink (and sugar)
consumption on public health.
- Soft-drink companies voluntarily should not
advertise to children and adolescents. Labels should advise parents that soft drinks may
replace lowfat milk, fruit juice, and other healthy foods in the diets of children and
- Scientific research should explore the role
of heavy consumption of soft drinks (and sugar) in nutritional status, obesity, caries,
kidney stones, osteoporosis, and heart disease.