The Senate should be commended for passing a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in an effort to support health in the CNMI. The senators are right to put the target on sugary drinks because overwhelming scientific evidence directly links sugary drinks to the diabetes epidemic.
They note that sugar-sweetened beverages are the single- biggest source of added sugar in Americans’ diets, while offering no nutritional value. The senators also point out the high rates of dialysis from diabetes in the CNMI.
There is good evidence that soda taxes will likely decrease consumption and the higher the tax, the greater the decrease. The proposed tax is an important step to reduce the large burden of cost, suffering, and death due to diabetes in the CNMI. It will incentivize a shift toward lower sugar beverages, while the proceeds support efforts to improve community health and children’s education.
We applaud this effort and urge citizens to make their voices heard in support of the measure.
Jim Krieger, MD, MPH
Healthy Food America