Letter to the Editor - Fighting Childhood Obesity


The Southern Illinoisan hands out a "Golden Pen Award" every month to the person who writes the best Letter to the Editor.  Read below to see how Jagan M Ailinani,MD,FACR wants to fight childhood obesity.

To the Editor:

I commend Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago and Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston for proposing a tax(penny-per-ounce) on sugar-sweetened drinks to reduce obesity, particularly in children.

In the U.S, obesity among adults and children is a national epidemic; one in five children are obese and 1 in 3 are overweight. Severe childhood obesity rates have doubled since 1999. Obesity is turning young kids into biologic adults, aging them faster and facing adult illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, circulation problems, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, sleep apnea, acid reflux, arthritis, depression and other diseases.

The main culprits of childhood obesity are sugar-sweetened drinks, sweets and processed foods. Marketing unhealthy food is the major cause of childhood obesity. Our kids are consuming too much sugar. One can of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar. Drink sizes are getting bigger; from 7 ounces in 1955 to 40 ounces in 1990. Restaurants are offering super-size sodas with free refills for a dollar. Fruit juices, including lemonade, have plenty of sugar (a 20 ounce lemonade has 57 grams of sugar). According to new World Health Organization guidelines, only percent of a person's daily calories should come from added sugar, about 26 grams per day for a 2,000 calorie diet. Continue reading here

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