Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Cutting Down on Your Cola Drinks

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Cutting Down on Your Cola Drinks

Article excerpt

Dear Editor,

New York City recently became the first city in history to place an official ban on the sale of large beverages in an effort to fight the obesity epidemic.1 This act is an eye opener for everyone around the world. Sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs), commonly referred to as softdrinks, have been reported to be an important contributor to obesity in younger populations.2 Increased consumption is likely to be the cause of weight gain and obesity in both developed3 and developing countries.4

Cafeterias in schools and colleges, road side cafes, bus stops, movie theatres etc. are supplied with a variety of softdrinks that compete over an ever growing consumer market. Most of the consumers are teenagers and adolescents, unaware of the fuel they are boosting up their bodies with. These softdrinks comprise of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), various sugars and sweeteners.5 A 12 oz serving contains about 140 - 150 calories and 35 - 37.5 gm sugar.3

This increased rate of softdrink addiction did not happen by chance. In fact, there are various marketing strategies behind it, mostly targeting teenagers. Fortunately, many of the leading beverage companies have now become aware of the catastrophic effects of high energy softdrinks and have altered their marketing drive towards non-sugar or zero calorie softdrinks. Diet sodas are preferred over SSBs as they have little to no calories, although their use is still controversial.

As advocates of 'a healthy life', it is time to drive public attention towards this issue. Firstly we will need to conduct public awareness campaigns. Next, we need to approach food industries that can play an important role in promoting a healthy diet by practicing responsible marketing. …

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