Health professionals seek surgeon general report on soda

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 6, 2012

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More than 100 health organizations and public health departments, as well as about 20 physicians and scientists, are calling on U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, to issue a report on the health effects of soda and other sugary drinks.

A letter detailing that request was sent on July 19 to the Dept. of Health and Human Services. The letter calls for a report on soda that would appraise the health-damaging effects of consuming too many sugary beverages. Proponents of such a study liken its importance to that of the 1964 landmark surgeon general’s report on tobacco use. The 1964 document concluded that cigarette smoking is a cause of lung cancer and laryngeal cancer in men, a probable cause of lung cancer in women and the most important cause of chronic bronchitis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Among those supporting a report on soda are the American Diabetes Assn., the American Heart Assn., the American Institute for Cancer Research and the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene (link).

In June, the American Medical Association adopted policy that says taxing sugar-sweetened beverages is one way states and communities can finance much-needed obesity prevention programs and obesity education campaigns. Revenue from such taxes primarily should be used for programs designed to treat obesity and related conditions and for research into health outcomes that might be affected by the taxes, the policy said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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