Memo of Support for NY AB 2320-A

Warning Labels on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
DATE: April 13, 2015
The undersigned organizations strongly support Assembly Bill 2320-A (Dinowitz), which would
require warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). New York consumers have a right to
know about the chronic health risks associated with soda and other sugary drink consumption. AB
2320-A is a common sense, educational approach that would provide that vital evidence-based
information to consumers.
The warning label would state: “SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s)
contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.” The recently released report from the federal
Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee states that the evidence base is “strong” when it comes to
the intake of added sugars and its association “with excess body weight in children and adults” and
with increasing the “risk of type 2 diabetes in adults.” 1 In fact, SSBs are the single largest source of
added sugars in the American diet. 2 Each extra soft drink consumed per day is associated with a 60
percent increased risk of overweight in children. 3
In particular, beverage sugar has been shown to be a unique contributor to obesity and diabetes.
Those are some of the reasons why the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends
decreased intake of beverages with caloric sweeteners. 4
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report is even more categorical in its
recommendation that Americans should consume fewer sugary drinks (it even recommended
taxing sugar drinks). 5 The science is clear.
Although by no means a cure for our type 2 diabetes and obesity epidemics, warning labels have
been effectively used to raise public awareness of the hazards of tobacco use and the excessive
consumption of alcoholic beverages. Research has found that warning labels on tobacco products
effectively informed smokers about the health hazards of smoking, encouraged smokers to quit, and
prevented nonsmokers from starting to smoke. 6
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Scientific Report
of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
2 Welsh, J. A., Sharma, A. J., Grellinger, L., & Vos, M. B. (2011). Consumption of added sugars is
decreasing in the United States. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 94(3), 726-734.
3 Ludwig, D.S., Peterson, K.E., & Gortmaker, S.L. (2001). Relation between consumption of sugarsweetened drinks and childhood obesity: A prospective, observational analysis. The Lancet,
357(9255), 505-508.
4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary
Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th Edition,
5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Scientific Report
of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
6 Tobacco-Free Kids. Tobacco Warning Labels: Evidence of Effectiveness.
New York State is plagued by declining health associated with poor eating and drinking habits. Six
out of ten New York adults and one-third of our students are considered overweight or obese. 7,8
Obesity-related state medical expenses are estimated at more than $11.8 billion yearly. 9
AB 2320-A would educate the public on the health dangers of sugary drinks and help drive
consumers to healthier beverage choices. We urge the Assembly to pass this important measure.
American Heart Association
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
Heart, Love & Soul Food Pantry & Dining Room
New York State, American Academy of Pediatrics District II
New York State Dental Association
New York State Public Health Association
Public Health Association of NYC
Public Health Solutions
Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
Bureau of Chronic Disease Evaluation and Research. (2011). Adult Overweight and Obesity in New
York State, 2000–2010. New York State Department of Health.
8 New York State Department of Health. (2013). 2010–2012 Student Weight Status Category
Reporting System Data as of July, 2013.
9 Office of the State Comptroller. (2012). Soaring Health Care Costs Highlight Need to Address
Childhood Obesity.