Lawmaker wants to limit soda sizes

Posted at 08/09/12 6:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines – As Filipinos scramble to help victims of floods caused by torrential rains, a lawmaker is pushing for the passage of a bill that would limit soda sizes.

Valenzuela City 2nd district Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo, in a statement released Thursday, said he has filed House Bill 6341 or the Soda Regulation Act of 2012, which seeks to prohibit the sale of soft drinks at 16 ounces or above per container.

He said this is part of an effort to fight obesity and diabetes in the Philippines.

“Based on the study, there were about 20 out of 100 adults of both sexes who were overweight in 1998. The figure increased to 24 and 27 out of 100 in 2003 and 2008, respectively,” he said, citing a study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology.

“In the 2008 survey, 2.7% Filipino adults aged 20 years and over are suffering from impaired fasting glucose, while hyperglycemia or high fasting blood sugar (FBS) level is 4.8%. The prevalence of hypertension among adults is 25%, increasing with age starting from age 40-49 years,” he added.

Citing other research, Gunigundo said the risk of becoming obese increases 1.6 times with each serving of soda.

He noted that a regular eight-ounce soda already has five heaping tablespoons of sugar, while a can of soft drink has about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

“Any health provider would simply recommend that adults consume less than six teaspoons of sugar a day while kids, only three teaspoons. Health authorities have warned that excessive intake of soda, which some say is habituating, can send one’s blood sugar shooting up,” the lawmaker said.

If passed, Gunigundo’s Soda Regulation Act of 2012 will prohibit companies from using advertisements and other offers related to soft drinks at 16 ounces and above per container.

The proposed bill also covers soda products packaged as samples and donations, and seeks to require companies to post nutritional information in each can or bottle of soft drink as well as the statement “Drinking soda causes obesity and diabetes.”

The Department of Health in consultation with the Department of Trade and Industry will be directed to issue the rules and regulations for the Soda Regulation Act of 2012, which will impose a penalty of six-year imprisonment and/or a fine of P100,000 on violators if passed.