• Fight for health’s sake
    February 11,2013

    Fight for health’s sake

    As a two-time cancer survivor and mother of two children, I am shocked and concerned by the increasing number of Vermonters who are being told they have cancer. What is even more shocking is the fact that so many types of cancer can be prevented.

    Nearly 4,000 Vermonters are diagnosed with cancer each year. Obesity is responsible for a third of all cancer deaths, second only to tobacco. Over 58 percent of Vermont adults and nearly 27 percent of our kids are overweight or obese. The science is clear. Obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition are major risk factors for cancer, including colon, esophageal, kidney, endometrial and postmenopausal breast cancer.

    Sugary beverages, like soda, energy and sport drinks are major drivers of the obesity epidemic, especially among children. Leaders within the Legislature who care about the health of Vermont kids have proposed a one penny per once excise tax on these beverages. This tax is projected to reduce consumption of sodas and other sugary beverages by up to 24 percent. Additionally, it will raise $27 million to be used for important programs like making health care more affordable for low- and middle-income Vermonters.

    This proposed tax is not a tax on the people of Vermont, it is a tax on a harmful product with no nutritional value. Sugar-sweetened beverages have been proven to be a driving factor in the skyrocketing rates of obesity in Vermont and the nation.

    I urge our lawmakers to support the sugar-sweetened beverage tax to stem the obesity epidemic, and make the fight against obesity and cancer a priority.

    Brandi Jagemann


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