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Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut has reintroduced a bill she first brought to Congress last year.
The SWEET Act would place a tax on sugary drinks of one cent per teaspoon of caloric sweetener, such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Nutritionally important beverage products such as milk, 100 percent fruit juice and infant formula would be exempted.
Rep. DeLauro cites health and nutrition as the critical factor behind the bill in a press release: “People want to be healthy and they want their kids to be healthy. But we are in the midst of dual epidemics, with Type 2 diabetes and obesity afflicting our nation and the related, astronomical health care costs. There is a clear relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and a host of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and tooth decay. We are at a crucial tipping point. The SWEET Act would help correct the path we are currently on.”
According to the press release, the revenue raised by the SWEET Act would be used to fund initiatives designed to reduce the human and economic costs of Type 2 diabetes, obesity dental problems, heart disease and other health conditions related to sugar-sweetened beverages. This includes prevention and treatment programs, research, increased access to healthy food in low-income neighborhoods, subsidizing fresh fruits and vegetables, and nutrition education.