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DeLauro Introduces Bill to Tackle Dual Epidemics of Diabetes, Obesity

March 26, 2015
Press Release

SWEET Act Would Discourage Excessive Sugar in Beverages

WASHINGTON, DC—Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today reintroduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax (SWEET) Act to tackle the dual epidemics of Type 2 diabetes and obesity by discouraging excessive sugar in beverages. DeLauro introduced identical legislation in the 113th Congress.

The SWEET Act would institute a tax of one cent per teaspoon of caloric sweetener, such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Nutritionally important beverage products such as milk, 100 percent fruit juice and infant formula would be exempted.

“People want to be healthy and they want their kids to be healthy. But we are in the midst of dual epidemics, with Type 2 diabetes and obesity afflicting our nation and the related, astronomical health care costs. There is a clear relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and a host of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and tooth decay. We are at a crucial tipping point. The SWEET Act would help correct the path we are currently on.”

The revenue raised by the SWEET Act would be used to fund initiatives designed to reduce the human and economic costs of Type 2 diabetes, obesity dental problems, heart disease and other health conditions related to sugar-sweetened beverages. This includes prevention and treatment programs, research, increased access to healthy food in low-income neighborhoods, subsidizing fresh fruits and vegetables, and nutrition education.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity rates have skyrocketed since the late 1970s, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting more than one-third of American adults were obese in 2012. Scientific research overwhelmingly shows a link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and such diseases. At least twenty percent of America’s estimated $190 billion in obesity-related medical expenditures are paid for by taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid.