Quebec health groups want warning labels on sugary drinks
Coalition that fights obesity will ask government to label drinks like cigarettes
If a coalition of Quebec health groups has its way, soda cans will come with a warning that drinking them may lead to obesity, diabetes and cavities.
Weight Coalition, an association of health professionals, food providers and municipalities aimed at fighting obesity, is calling on the Quebec government to make such warning labels law, just like it was done with cigarettes.
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The coalition says that sugary drinks contribute to the province's obesity epidemic, and warning labels would turn parents away from buying these drinks for their children.
"It's time for the [Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food] to assume its leadership in healthy nutrition and to inform in a clear and simple way what consumers are really drinking," Corinne Voyer, director of Weight Coalition, said in a statement.
Weight Coalition cites an American study published in this month's Pediatrics journal, which showed that warning labels improved parents' understanding of the health impacts of sugary drinks and caused them to buy less of them.
The group is also calling for a tax on sugary drinks, like sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks and energy drinks.
Similar taxes adopted in Mexico and France, the group says, helped finance public health initiatives and offer healthier alternatives in schools.
Government working group
A spokesperson for the Minister of Public Health says the government has no intention of taxing sugar or obliging companies to put warning labels on sugary drinks.
However, a working group is looking at the issues around healthy eating and is expected to report back in 2017.