Big Soda vs. Public Health: the US Conference on Mayors
There seems to be no end to such stories, many of which I cover in Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning)—officially out October 1 but being shipped right now.
Here’s one I didn’t cover.
2008: The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) passed a resolution supporting “increased resources for cities to help combat obesity and fund obesity prevention, including consideration of revenues from the major leading contributors of the nation’s obesity epidemic, including calorically sweetened beverages, fast food, and high calorie snacks.” Translation: taxes
2010: USCM posted an article in its online newspaper about mayors considering soda taxes.
2011: The American Beverage Association (ABA) became a member of the USCM’s Business Council, and partnered with the group to start a $3 million childhood obesity prevention program. Would this aim to reduce intake of sugary beverages? Nope.
Instead, the program focused on:
- Promoting physical activity
- Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption
2015: The winning projects were:
- Jacksonville, FL, $150,000 for a youth initiative to make fresh fruits and vegetables available at a cheaper cost, and to promote physical activity.
- Seattle, WA, $25,000 to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among at-risk kids, through farm-to-table initiatives.
2015: Here’s what Scientific American says about all this (I’m quoted).
There is no mention in the application of decreasing consumption of calorically sweetened beverages, fast food, or high calorie snacks, which are all specifically cited in the 2008 USCM resolution as contributors to the nation’s obesity epidemic…The beverage industry seems to be obsessed with physical activity, as evident from the recent spate of stories about Coca-Cola funding studies that point the blame for obesity at caloric expenditure, rather than caloric intake. The science overwhelmingly does not support this.