Brownell: Do we have the will to change the American diet?
Is there the political will to change the American diet?
That was the question posed by Yale University professor Kelly Brownell at the school’s annual Gaylord Anderson lecture.
Brownell noted that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has committed $100 million a year over five years to combat childhood obesity. Yet the food industry spends more than that per week, marketing junk food to children.
Brownell called for a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened drinks as a way to combat obesity, cut health care costs, and raise revenue for debt-burdened government agencies. “Economists estimate that this would decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by up to 23 percent,” he said.
“The Congressional Budget Office estimates that such a decrease could reduce health care costs by $50 million over 10 years, and it would generate an awful lot of money.”