The American Diabetes Association (ADA) supports the intent of the CNMI’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Bill, intended to promote diabetes prevention and encourage healthy behaviors. Since 1980, the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled to 422 million as reported by the World Health Organization in the most recent global report on diabetes. The report further calls upon governments to ensure that people are able to make healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose, treat, and care for persons with diabetes.
Comprehensive approaches, in this instance through statute, are necessary to combat what has now become an epidemic. Although other culprits contribute to the increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes, empty calorie, sugar-sweetened beverages surely play a large role. Much work has yet to be done, and no single legislation will solve the diabetes or other health problems, but taxing a major contributor is a great first step in environments saturated with sugary drinks.
The ADA applauds the efforts of the CNMI; we are confident that this bill will effectuate positive changes to reduce the social and economic burden of obesity and diabetes in the islands and encourage other territories and states to follow.
Lawrence Duenas, LJ
Associate director, Development + Community Health Strategies