Ethics and obesity prevention: Ethical considerations in 3 approaches to reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages

Nancy Kass, Kenneth Hecht, Amy Paul, Kerry Birnbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Obesity and overweight prevalence soared to unprecedented levels in the United States, with 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 6 children currently categorized as obese. Althoughmany approaches have been taken to encourage individual behavior change, policies increasingly attempt to modify environments to have a more positive influence on individuals' food and drink choices. Several policy proposals target sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), consumption of which has become the largest contributor to Americans' caloric intake. Yet proposals have been criticized for unduly inhibiting choice, being overly paternalistic, and stigmatizing low-income populations. We explored the ethical acceptability of 3 approaches to reduce SSB consumption: restricting sale of SSBs in public schools, levying significant taxes on SSBs, and prohibiting the use of Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) benefits for SSB purchases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)787-795
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume104
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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