The fight against obesity is gearing up on several fronts — from a proposed tax on sugary drinks in a small Northern California city to national efforts by commercial giants and the White House.
Some of the notable battlegrounds:
- The city of Richmond proposes a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. If voters in November approve the nation’s first municipal tax on sugary beverages, the estimated annual revenue of $2 million to $8 million would go toward diabetes treatment, school gardens, soccer fields and other anti-obesity efforts;
- The Walt Disney Company announced this month that all products advertised on its child-focused television channels, radio stations and websites must comply with a strict new set of nutritional standards. The company said the new policy is an effort to address concerns about entertainment’s role in childhood obesity;
- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to ban large sugary drinks from the country’s largest city;
- “The Weight of the Nation,” a four-part film documentary presented by HBO and the Institute of Medicine, examines America’s obesity crisis, its consequences for individuals and the challenges it presents our society; andÂ
- First lady Michelle Obama has used her bully pulpit to encourage markets and restaurants to offer healthy options in “food deserts.” She planted a vegetable garden at the White House and wrote a book about it. Her Let’s Move campaign encourages kids to be more active.
In the California Legislature last year, a statewide version of the proposed tax in Richmond fell flat. AB 669,Â by Assembly member Bill Monning (D-Carmel),Â proposed a one-cent tax for each ounce of sweetened beverage sold in California.
Although there is little dispute about the problem — more than 63% of Americans are overweight or obese and at greater risk for a variety of health problems including diabetes, stroke, cancers and heart and lung disease — there is dispute about what (if anything) should be done about it.
The California Department of Public Health updated its California Obesity Prevention Program in 2010, but the number of obese Californians — especially children — continues to rise, according to CDC.
We asked stakeholders and experts how California should deal with the problem.
We got responses from: