Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday slacking and soda taxes

Ok, I admit it, I've been slacking with the writing of late--the holiday madness and tidying up projects before 2008 shuts down has gotten the best of me. I'll be posting a few quickies over the next few days and then back to the big guns come Jan. 1 (when you'll really be ready for a swift kick of healthy food in order to detox from every cookie, cup of hot cocoa, cocktail and heavy holiday meal that's crossed your path the past few weeks).
This peaked my interest last week. Thought I'd share it for all you politico-health conscious-foodie New Yorkers. Gov. Paterson has proposed an 18% tax on non-diet soda and sugary-sweet juice drinks (those that contain less than 70% fruit juice). Termed the "obesity tax," the proposal targets rising obesity rates while raising nearly $400 million per year for state health programs. One in four New Yorkers is obese, up from 14% in 1995. Pretty shocking and pretty impressive on Paterson's part. Whether or not the tax will actually deter people from drinking empty-calories and consuming high-fructose corn syrup is hard to say, but I'm hopeful that it will, at the very least, open people's eyes a little wider, making them think twice before reaching for liquid calories that have zero 'value add'. Here's to hoping the proposal will further open the conversation about the state of this country's diet and health status.

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