Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter will deliver the keynote address at a national advocacy conference to motivate and strengthen national, state, and local initiatives aimed at reducing consumption of soda and other sugary drinks. The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 7 and 8, 2012.
The Sugary Drinks Summit of 2012, the first conference of its kind, was announced by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is organizing the summit in collaboration with leading nutritionists, health officials, and organizations. Consumption of sugary drinks increases the risks of overweight and obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, tooth decay, and many other costly health problems.
Mayor Nutter has taken steps in Philadelphia to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, including limiting soda sales in city vending machines, and he also proposed new taxes on soda. Other speakers include Kelly D. Brownell, director, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University; Barry Popkin, W.R. Kenan distinguished professor, University of North Carolina; Shiriki Kumaniyika, senior advisor, Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania School of Public Health; Michael F. Jacobson, executive director, CSPI; health professionals; a former high-level soft-drink industry executive; and thought leaders and activists on sugary-drink issues from health departments around the country.
Sessions will explore lobbying and marketing efforts by the soda industry, actions and policies to reduce sugary-drink consumption, and tactics to counter industry’s marketing of sugary drinks to young people and minorities. Other sessions will discuss strategies for reducing rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. The conference will be of special interest to state and local health officials, nonprofit health organizations, nutritionists, and researchers.
In August 2011, CSPI launched the Life’s Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks campaign, which seeks to reduce consumption of soda and other sugary drinks by more than half to a maximum of 3 per person per week by 2020, a healthy target proposed by the American Heart Association. The campaign currently has some 170 partner organizations working to reduce sugary-drink consumption in homes, workplaces, and communities through the removal of sugary-drink vending machines, hard-hitting ad campaigns connecting soda to weight gain, and public education among other things. Some of the major public health departments that have signed on include Boston, Columbus, Cook County, Los Angeles County, Philadelphia, and Seattle/King County. Individuals and families are also encouraged to join the challenge.