S.F. Could Levy Fee on Soda Retailers To Combat Obesity
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) is considering charging a new fee to major retailers of sugar drinks in an effort to help reduce childhood obesity and related health care costs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Newsom said that "there is a direct nexus between high-fructose corn syrup drinks ... and obesity among schoolkids." He noted that nearly one-quarter of San Francisco fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders are overweight, according to a recent Health Department survey.
Obesity among San Francisco's children and adults accounts for tens of millions of dollars in health care costs for the city, according to Newsom.
The proposed fee, still in the planning stages, would apply to big-box retailers and chain drugstores. Newsom hopes these sellers will contribute to his "Shape Up San Francisco" program and to media campaigns to discourage drinking soda.
The program could provide sellers with a break on other types of fees, according to the Chronicle (Matier/Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/17).
There is something "unhealthful about a politician's attempt to selectively target one source of calories for a new tax ... to fight obesity," a Chronicle editorial states. Also, it is "a little unfair to single out the big-box retailers as culprits," according to the editorial. "It's going to be" difficult "for the city government to try to control what's in the home refrigerator," the editorial states (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.