Various political big wigs in Baltimore have made it their mission to put warning labels on sugary drinks, advising potential purchasers about the damaging health effects of such beverages. Doing so would put Baltimore on the cutting edge of the new anti-sugar activist movement.
Those in favor of the warning argue that such drinks are, well, really bad for you–particularly if you’re a kid. In a city where health disparities and obesity are a major issue, an informative label seems like a very small step in the right direction, and much less intrusive than the ban on sugar soda that Howard County had in place for a little while. Although plenty of people still smoke despite the warning labels on cigarette packets, experts say that even a subtle message can help nudge people to make healthier choices.
Currently, there’s a pending bill working its way through the city council that would require advertisers and stores to include the statement “Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to tooth decay, obesity and diabetes. This message is from the Baltimore City Health Department.” (Opponents argue that such a law would put an undue burden on stores, and that the warning blames the complex problem of obesity on a single culprit.)
If you’ve got thoughts on the issue that you’d like to share, you’ll want to attend tonight’s meeting hosted by the Baltimore City Health Department. It starts at 5:30 PM at the Southern Baptist Church (1701 North Chester Street). The event is entitled “The Sweet Truth: Sugary Drinks, Community Health, and Social Justice” and features Baltimore’s new dynamic health commissioner Leana Wen, along with former NFL player Aaron Maybin and a host of other experts.