AMA rejects proposal to tax soft drinks

soft drinksLAS VEGAS - The American Medical Association on Tuesday decided against a proposal to call for taxes on soft drinks as a way to curb consumption of the sugar-laden beverages blamed for contributing to obesity.

"We don't want sugared soft drinks in schools. But a federal tax made a lot of people uncomfortable," said Dr. William Hamilton, a Salt Lake City anesthesiologist who attended the group's meeting at a Las Vegas Strip hotel.

The AMA instead approved a proposal for a broader effort to fight obesity.

The American Beverage Association fought the tax proposal but issued a statement crediting the AMA with adopting "a comprehensive approach to addressing the complex problem of obesity."

Dr. Ron Davis, president-elect of the nation's most influential physicians lobbying group, insisted the idea of taxing soda was not dead. He said soft drinks now account for 7 percent of calories in the American diet — the No. 1 source of calories.

"The epidemic of obesity in the U.S. has been developing and growing for 30 years, and it's going to take decades to turn it around," he said.