LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — The mayors of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and 15 other cities sent a letter to congress this week urging lawmakers to ban the use of food stamps to buy soda and other sugary drinks.
In the letter the mayors said it’s “time to test and evaluate approaches limiting” the use of the subsidies for sugar-laden beverages, in the interest of fighting obesity and related diseases.
“We need to find ways to strengthen the program and promote good nutrition while limiting the use of these resources for items with no nutritional value, like sugary drinks, that are actually harming the health of participants,” N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “Why should we continue supporting unhealthy purchases in the false name of nutrition assistance?”
The American Beverage Association was quick to respond, saying sugary drinks should not be singled out as a cause of obesity.
The ABA called obesity “a complex health condition that affects Americans of all income levels.”
Last year, more than 47 million Americans used food stamp assistance.
Under the current program, participants are prohibited from using benefits to buy alcohol or cigarettes.