June 22nd, 2011

AMA wants further study on taxing sugar-sweetened soft drinks

Heart Key

Despite growing support among the public and some doctors, the American Medical Association Tuesday afternoon backed away from supporting taxes on sugar-sweetened soft drinks, saying the idea needs more study.

The AMA’s policy-making House of Delegates this week debated the idea of supporting state and local taxation of “beverages with added sweeteners” as a way of combating the nation’s obesity epidemic while better educating the public.

But some doctors in the AMA said the group might want to broaden the idea to include advocating for taxes on juices, high caloric drinks, artificial sweeteners and sugars. Delegates said more study is needed on a host of sweeteners before the group can make an educated advocacy stance.

But several doctors said they were unlikely to support any taxes on sweetened beverages, saying they didn’t favor “sin taxes” and opposed taxation as a way to influence consumer behavior.

“If you tax the sugar in drinks, where does it stop,” a physician delegate from Indiana said Sunday.

The AMA has been debating dozens of issues, including health reform, payment issues and issues it wants to add to its lobbying agenda. The meeting at the Hyatt Regency Chicago ends Tuesday.

Read more: http://www.healthkey.com/chi-ama-wants-further-study-on-tax-on-sugarsweetened-soft-drinks-20110621,0,3630605.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Ffeatures%2Fhealth+(L.A.+Times+-+Health)&utm_content=Twitter

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