Massachusetts Medical Society: Testimony in Support of An Act to Protect Youth from The Health Risk of Sugary Drinks

Testimony in Support of An Act to Protect Youth from The Health Risk of Sugary Drinks

The Massachusetts Medical Society wishes to be recorded in support of H.1947 and S.1291, identical bills that would:

  • Prohibit marketing of surgery drinks in schools
  • Require labels on certain sugary drink advertisements warning that drinking surgery beverages contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
  • Impose limitations on sugary beverages in children’s meals at chain restaurants by making healthier choices be the default beverage.   

In 2016, the MMS House of Delegates passed the following policy: 

“The MMS supports, as part of a healthy approach to childhood nutrition, limiting children’s intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and overall added sugar.” 

The MMS support for H.1947 and S.1291 is consistent with that policy.

The harmful effects of sugary beverages, especially for children, is well documented.  Sugary beverage intake is significantly associated with weight gain and obesity. A child’s risk of becoming obese increases by 60% with each additional sugary beverage consumed daily. Children who drink carbonated sugary beverages have almost double the risk of dental cavities. Drinking just one 20-ounce bottle of a sugary beverage per day can result in gaining 25 extra pounds per year. 

The health costs of obesity in the United States are about $147 billion annually and approximately $3.5 billion in Massachusetts.  This bill is a significant step towards reducing that number by targeting the most vulnerable population – children. 

The MMS urges the Committee on Public Health to report H.1947 and S.1291 out of Committee favorably. 

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