Howard County’s sugary drinks ban is no more, but local moves are still being made to get the word out about how the sweetest beverages affect kids’ health.
In Baltimore City, new legislation set to be introduced Monday by City Councilman Nick Mosby would require warning labels for sugary drinks. Mosby was joined by City Health Commissioner Leana Wen at a city hall press conference to announce the bill on Monday.
Under the bill, the following warning would have to appear where the drinks are sold, and on billboards and transit advertisements:
“WARNING: DRINKING BEVERAGES WITH ADDED SUGAR CONTRIBUTES TO TOOTH DECAY, OBESITY, AND DIABETES. THIS MESSAGE IS FROM THE BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT.”
Along with the bill, the Baltimore Health Department is also launching a campaign to “Rethink Your Drink,” which is challenging residents to cut down on the sugary stuff for 30 days.
Wen pointed to the drinks’ status as the leading contributor to childhood obesity as a big reason for the warning. According to this Harvard fact sheet, the likelihood of a child becoming obese increases by 60 percent with each 12-ounce can of soda.
“Childhood obesity will lead to adult diseases that kill, and we must do everything we can to protect the health of our children,” she said. “We must inform our residents about the danger of sugar-sweetened beverages.”
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