Saturday, September 19, 2009

Should We Tax Soft Drinks More?

I was talking with the parents of a young girl on Friday about her health. She was 8years old, has allergies and asthma, is 4'8", and weighs 140 pounds. She was visibly overweight. This directly contributed to her respiratory symptoms of shortness of breath worse with exertion and wheezing. I brought up the subject of her diet. She in directly reminded me, because during our conversation, she drank a bottle of Mountain Dew. Neither of her parents thought that this could be contributing to her weight or her symptoms. They just wanted a prescription for better medications. I insisted her parents consider strongly restricting how much soda she drinks. This did not go over well. I think they were all angry at me.

I support a tax on soft drinks and other drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or excessive amounts of sugar. I agree this would be directly analogous to the tax on cigarettes. Use the money generated to better educate people and then to care for health consequences from these drinks, like diabetes.

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