Experts are concerned that these beverages are increasing the obesity rate in children. In fact, one study found that “each extra soft drink consumed per day was associated with a 60 percent increased risk of overweight in children.” In addition, “alarmingly, type 2 diabetes, which used to occur primarily in middle-aged and older adults, is now becoming more common among teens, especially those who are low-income and minority.”
The letter states that sugary drinks are now a routine daily beverage of choice for Americans, instead of an occasional treat. Pop and colas are promoted as a key to happiness and fun in aggressive marketing campaigns.
The Institute of Medicine issued a report in May 2012 called Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention that recommended adopting policies to reduce over consumption of soda and other sugary drinks. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that consumers drink water instead of sugary drinks. The health organizations believe that a Surgeon General’s Report on this matter could be as effective as the smoking report, bringing attention to the consequences of sugary drink consumption.
A report would also be the basis for policy measures and goals for federal, state, and local governments to improve health and reduce health care costs. The letter states that the increasing obesity rate is actually a national security issue, since 27% of America’s youth are ineligible for military service because they are overweight.