At its Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, the Carson City Council passed a resolution in support of Senate Bi…ll 1000 (SB 1000) that proposes legislation to promote informed consumer purchasing decisions by requiring a warning label on beverage containers about the harmful health effects that result from the consumption of beverages with added sugars. SB 1000 would establish the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act that prohibits the distributing, selling, or offering for sale of sugar-sweetened beverages in California unless the beverage container bears the following specific safety warning label:
“STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
The City of Carson is the FIRST municipality in the state to support this legislation that addresses the prevalence of obesity in California. According to the legislative report, nearly 40% of the children in California are currently overweight or obese, and although no group has escaped the epidemic, communities of color, i.e., diverse communities like Carson, are disproportionately affected. The obesity epidemic is of particular concern because obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and certain types of cancer.
Mayor Pro Tem Elito M. Santarina, a former local public high school teacher for over 45-years, stated that he was “honored to know that the City of Carson was the very first city in the state to support this legislation, and while the warning label required by this bill may not eliminate obesity, it was a good first step toward that goal.” Carson Councilmember Albert Robles added, that “doing nothing to address this obesity epidemic was not an option. The minimal intrusion of mandating a simple warning label on sugar-sweetened beverages was clearly justified by the great potential benefit of a child, adolescent or adult being a little healthier due to a better informed purchasing decision.” Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes, mother, grandmother and former Parks and Recreation Superintendent, stated that “we need to put children’s health first, and with this action we make it clear that in Carson children’s health is a priority.”
A representative from the American Beverage Association was present at the Carson City Council meeting arguing against the City taking this action in favor of SB 1000. After some back-and-forth dialogue, the Carson City Council ultimately voted to support SB 1000 on a 3-2 vote; the three proponents of the resolution expressing the City’s support for SB 1000, are Mayor Pro Tem Elito M. Santarina and Councilmembers Lula Davis-Holmes and Albert Robles.
In California, adult obesity rates have increased from 8.9% in 1984 to 25% in 2012. If current trends continue, the obesity rate is expected to increase to a staggering 46.6% in 2030, which, as has been scientifically proven, results in significantly greater medical costs that ultimately burden the public. While the passage of SB 1000 may not stop obesity, it will help reduce the rate at which it is increasing. Mayor Pro Tem Elito M. Santarina, Councilmember Albert Robles and Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes encourage other cities to support the passages of this bill and thank the sponsors of the legislation for their leadership.