The Baltimore City Health Department and Council Nick Mosby announced a bill that would require warning labels for sugar-sweetened beverages in advertisements, restaurant menus, and in city stores that sell those products.
A sugar-sweetened beverage is defined as any beverage that contains added caloric sweetener, including soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, most juices, sweetened coffee drinks, sweetened teas, etc.
"The science is clear: The biggest contributor to childhood obesity is sugary drinks," said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. "Childhood obesity will lead to adult diseases that kill, and we must do everything we can to protect the health of our children. We must inform our residents about the danger of sugar-sweetened beverages."
In Baltimore, one of every three school-aged children is either overweight or obese. One in four drink one more sodas each day.
Research has shown that sugar-sweetened beverages promote weight gain. Scientific studies also show that consumption of these beverages can lead to tooth decay, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and obesity.
The bill, which will be introduced at Monday's city council meeting, would require food service facilities, retailers, and certain advertisements posted within Baltimore City, including billboards and transit ads, to display the following warning:
Warning: Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes. This message is from the Baltimore City Health Department.
Baltimore City would be the second jurisdiction in the country to issue such a warning.