Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Latest from California: Prop 37 and Prososed Soda Tax

Two quick things to take a look at, both dealing with ballot issues in California:

First, a new video in support of Prop 37 that showcases a handful of celebrities (not exactly A list, but we'll take it) making fun of the reasons Big Food and Big Chem think Californians should vote against Prop 37. (If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here to watch.

Second, Mark Bittman, in today's online edition of The New York Times, writes about the proposed tax on soda that two California cities will vote on next month. Here's part of it:
"Now the California cities of Richmond and El Monte have put the soda tax — which has been endorsed by the United Nations, the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, the Institute of Medicine and many others, and which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention commissioner, Thomas Frieden, has called 'the single most effective measure to reverse the obesity epidemic' – on the Nov. 6 ballot.
"Both of these are working-class, largely nonwhite cities, with populations of about 100,000. Richmond, ranked sixth-most-obese city in the state, is in the East Bay, north of Berkeley; El Monte – which ranks ninth – is just east of Los Angeles, in the I-10 corridor. Were either to institute a soda tax, the prediction here is that some or even many nearby cities would follow suit quickly, for two reasons. The first, almost immediate, is that these nearly broke municipalities would each gain a new source of income that could, according to the soda tax calculator developed by the economist Tatiana Andreyeva of the Rudd Center in New Haven, be about $3 million annually .

"The cities must decide how to spend these small windfalls. Dr. Jeff Ritterman, a retired cardiologist serving on the Richmond City Council, says that 'for $86,000 we can teach every third grader how to swim at one of our municipal pools, and for $800,000 we can put a nutrition-gardening-cooking instructor in each of our 10 elementary schools.'

"The longer-term benefit, which may take a year, or three, or even five to become evident and accepted, is health. Studies have shown that reduced soda consumption results in reduced weight. How quickly and how significantly a soda tax would reduce consumption remains to be seen. But without this kind of intervention, says Ritterman, 'Our adult obesity rate will go from 24 percent to 42 percent when the present fifth and seventh graders reach adulthood.'”

 Click here to read Bittman's piece in its entirety.

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