Obesity has become a public health crisis in Philadelphia.
In 2010, 66% of adults and 41% of children were overweight or obese.
In some Philadelphia neighborhoods, almost 70% of children are overweight or obese. Obesity and being overweight are major risk factors for heart disease, many forms of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Many studies have shown a link between drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) and obesity.
A SSB is any non-alcoholic beverage with an added sugar-based, caloric sweetener, including sucrose, fructose, glucose, and other sugars (including high fructose corn syrup). This includes, but is not limited to: soda, non-100%-fruit drinks, sports drinks, flavored water, energy drinks, and pre-sweetened tea.
Philadelphians drink about 60 million gallons of SSBs each year (about ½ liter or 170 calories per person per day). SSBs have a lot of calories, but they have no nutritional value. SSBs do not make people feel full, so they end up drinking more calories than they need.
Sweet beverages can change children's taste preferences for the rest of their lives, causing less sweet, healthier foods to be unappealing.
Through funding from the Centers for Disease Control the Department of Public Health is:
- Launching a hard-hitting media campaign to raise awareness about the health effects of SSBs and to provide concrete ideas on how to cut SSBs out of your diet
- Working with corner stores to sell healthier foods and beverages
- Working with schools to remove SSBs from school stores, fundraisers, and classroom parties
- "Beverage Intake in the United States"
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- "Sugar Sweetened Beverage Taxes"
Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
- "Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks Are Harming America's Health"
Center for Science in the Public Interest