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Public Health Institute and California Project LEAN Reiterate Support for Health Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks

February 23, 2015

Statement from Lynn Silver, MD, MPH, Senior Advisor, Chronic Disease and Obesity Prevention, Public Health Institute

"The Public Health Institute (PHI) and PHI's California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) once again applaud the leadership of Senator Bill Monning and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy in introducing Senate Bill 203, which would require warning labels on most sugary drinks in California. Putting the proposed warning, “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay,” front and center for consumers will go far towards highlighting the serious health risks that come from drinking sugary drinks.

"The science linking sugary drinks to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay is incontrovertible. Heart disease and diabetes are not rare conditions; they are two of the leading causes of death. Diabetes has grown rapidly in California and is tied to one in every three hospitalizations. And yet sugar-loaded beverages with zero nutritional benefits continue to be among the most heavily marketed products in the nation. Exploding portion sizes, ubiquitous placement and aggressive marketing have made sugary drinks the largest single component of the growth in caloric intake of Americans over recent decades.

"Like warning labels on cigarettes or alcohol, requiring the soda industry to tell people the truth about the risks associated with consumption of their products is an important step in promoting better health. Contrary to what multi-million dollar advertising campaigns purport, drinking these products regularly will not make you happy. Instead, it can land you in the hospital. It’s time to let people know."