by Marion Nestle
Jan 18 2013

Should sugar-sweetened beverages be regulated? NEJM readers vote yes.

As part of an interactive case study and point-counterpoint on regulation of sugar-sweetened beverages, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) conducted a poll of its U.S. and international readers.  The poll elicited responses from 1290 readers from 75 countries.

Overall, 68% of respondents favored government regulation.

High as this percentage is, the average is much lower than percentages from most countries as a result of one outlier—the United States.

Only 58% of U.S. voters in the poll favored regulation.  Everywhere else in the world, the percent in favor averaged 84%.

These results reminded me of change-in-sales figures from a few years ago:

Americans have reduced soft drink consumption, causing soda companies to focus their marketing efforts overseas.  Trends like these explain Coca-Cola’s new obesity ad campaign and Pepsi’s $50 million deal with Beyoncé. 

In America these days, 58% is an impressive majority.  NEJM readers are likely to be physicians, scientists, and health and health policy professionals. I suspect we will be hearing more about this idea.  Stay tuned for this one too.

Comments

I do not want our corrupt politicians regulating sugar!

What makes one think that this might work better than gun control, prohibition or the war on drugs?

  • Janice Miller
  • January 19, 2013
  • 7:50 am

Look at the n values Marion…as a credible scientist would you be comparing n=7 from a continent to n=783 from a single country?

  • Craygor
  • January 20, 2013
  • 9:04 pm

Leave the private sector alone, but there is no reason unhealthy products can not be eliminated from government run institutions. You’re are allow to smoke or drink alcohol in schools or government offices, so why allow these unhealthy consumables to be available?

  • Craygor
  • January 20, 2013
  • 9:06 pm

err, You’re are NOT allow to smoke or drink alcohol in schools or government offices, so why allow these unhealthy consumables to be available?

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