Health experts push for higher tax on sugary drinks

Some of the largest physician groups are calling for lawmakers to place a higher tax on sugary drinks.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association say they want to limit how many sugary drinks kids are having.

The statement will be published in the April issue of Pediatrics. It calls for additional taxes across the country on sugary beverages and limits on marketing of these drinks to children, as well as making drinks like water and milk the default beverages on children's menus and ensuring access to healthy foods through federal nutrition assistance programs.

"As a nation we have to say 'no' to the onslaught of marketing of sugary drinks to our children," said Rachel K. Johnson, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Vermont and former chair of the AHA's nutrition committee, in a statement. "We know what works to protect kids' health and it's time we put effective policies in place that bring down rates of sugary drink consumption just like we've done with tobacco."

They point out sports drinks, fruit-flavored drinks and sodas are now the largest source of added sugar in kids' diets.

Experts point to those added sugars for health risks including tooth decay, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

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