Grocery-tax referendum in Washington state would block soda taxes

The three largest soft drink companies in America have donated more than 98 cents of every $1 given to a campaign in Washington state to ban local governments from imposing new taxes on groceries, including soda and other sugary beverages. Voters will decide whether to enact Initiative 1634 in a statewide vote as part of the Nov. 6 election, 10 months after a soda tax took effect in Seattle, the largest city in the state.

U.S. obesity rate rises: 40 percent of adults

For Americans, gaining weight seems to go hand in hand with getting older; the obesity rate for adults is twice as high as the youth rate. And now, the CDC pegs the adult rate at nearly 40 percent, up 2 percentage points in two years and the highest rate ever, while the youth obesity rate rose to 18.5 percent, up by more than a point and also a record.

Child obesity soared worldwide in two generations

Some 124 million boys and girls around the world are obese, putting the children at risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, said a team of researchers in the journal The Lancet. Obesity rates among youths ages 5-19 years are eight times higher today than they were in 1975 and exceed 20 percent in nations including the United States.

On today’s agenda in Chicago: Repeal the soda tax

The Cook County Board, overseeing the 41 percent of Illinoisans who live in Chicago and nearby suburbs, is expected to repeal its 1-cent-per-ounce soda tax during a meeting today, only weeks after it took effect. The change of mind in Cook County, the largest jurisdiction in the nation to tax sugary beverages, is a dramatic defeat for public-health advocates.

Food industry tries to shape food policy, says nonprofit group

A series of emails obtained under a state freedom of information law suggest major food companies have a "roadmap for dealing with scientific challenges," says the leader of the nonprofit group U.S. Right to Know in a Bloomberg story. The emails by current and former Coca-Cola executives suggest actions such as enlisting outside organizations to question dietary advice that was contrary to their business interests.

Soda tax will apply to 41 percent of Illinoisans on Wednesday

Cook County, the most populous county in Illinois, will begin collecting a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages beginning on Wednesday, making it the largest jurisdiction with a soda tax, following a state court decision that the tax is constitutional, said the Chicago Tribune. Som

Once again, judges say Philadelphia’s soda tax is legal

With judges split 5-2, the Pennsylvania Comonwealth Court upheld Philadelphia's 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, the second win in court by the city, said Philadelphia Magazine. "Still, the ruling doesn’t conclude the soda tax war," said the magazine, because the American Beverage Association and local businesses could appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Soda taxes could cover 40 percent of Americans

Seven U.S. cities, from Philadelphia to San Francisco, have adopted so-called soda taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages since November 2014. Now researchers say they’ve identified three factors for success in such efforts.

Seattle approves 1.75-cent-an-ounce soda tax

On a 7-1 vote, the Seattle City Council approved a tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on sugary beverages, such as soda, sports drinks and energy drinks, said the Post Intelligencer. "Supporters hope the tax will help fund educational programs and close the learning gap between white students and students of color, while also curbing consumption of unhealthy sugary beverages."