Friday, June 25, 2010

Sweetening the Pot

The WSJ is reporting that a study commissioned by the non partisan NYC DOH has determined that a soda tax would help reduce diabetes in the city: "New Yorkers seem to oppose Gov. Paterson’s proposed penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. But over the next decade, the tax could curb soda consumption and prevent tens of thousands of cases of adult obesity and Type 2 diabetes, a change that would save state residents an estimated $2.1 billion in related medical expenditures, according to a new study commissioned by the New York City Health Department."

The Columbia researcher who conducted the study stated that the tax would dramatically reduce consumption: "The findings: a soda tax would reduce consumption of sugary beverages by 15% to 20%. It would also prevent an estimated 37,000 or more cases of Type 2 diabetes and an estimated 145,000 or more cases of adult obesity over the next decade."

But, at the same time, the governor sees the tax as a big money maker for the state-believing that consumption would not be reduced all that dramatically it seems: "The Paterson administration estimates that the measure would raise $815 million a year." And researcher Wang sweetly agrees; and both she and Paterson enjoy speaking out of both sides of their mouth: "These tax revenues could potentially be used to generate even more health benefits for New York residents by funding programs to promote healthy eating and active lifestyles for adults and children,” said Wang."

Now we haven't examined Dr. Wang's methodology, but the schools of public health have generally been transformed into liberal advocacy arms-with the former core mission of public health reduced to creating strident platforms for scolds who want to tell peop;le-for their own good, of course-how they should be living their lives.