Will soda warning labels work?

San Francisco will approve health warnings on soda advertisements, making it the first in the country to pass a law on those types of beverages.

In a unanimous vote last month, California lawmakers voted in favor of taking measures to place a warning label, similar to those on cigarettes, on all soda and sugary drink ads. Although this would not require warnings to be labeled on the products themselves, other measures are being taken to enforce the health warning.

The warning would include the following wording, “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

While this health warning would have to appear on over 20 percent of the space on all billboards and posters across town in stadiums, bus stops and on vehicles, the labels would not be required on advertisements in newspapers, magazines or on the Internet.

If the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approves the ordinance, Mayor Ed Lee plans to put the measures into effect this summer.

“People should know what harmful ingredients are in some sodas and sugary drinks,” says Dr. Daniel Wool, a physician with Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “It is important that they understand these drinks can lead to obesity and other medical problems. With this knowledge, people can then make an informed decision whether or not to consume these items.”

Two other proposals on the table also received approval by San Francisco lawmakers – banning sugary drink ads on public property and forbidding purchasing sugary beverages with city funds.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proved the unfortunate reality that one in three children born after 2000 are expected to develop diabetes at some point in their lifetime.

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