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AMA Weighing Support For National Soda Tax

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A bottle of Coca-Cola, left, and Dr. Pepper are displayed in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, Sept. 27, 2010. (Credit: AP)

A bottle of Coca-Cola, left, and Dr. Pepper are displayed in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, Sept. 27, 2010. (Credit: AP)

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UPDATED 06/21/11 5:44 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Would a $2 bottle of fattening soda have Americans drinking less and slimming down? As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, some doctors think a big fat soda tax is the answer.

The sweet fizzy drinks might taste delicious, but sugary sodas are fattening and if the Houk family looks fit, it might be because the drinks are mostly off-limits at home.

Annie Houk acknowledged it’s “very hard” to keep her kids away from soda “because they love it.”

Her daughter, Alyssa Floro, said she doesn’t think it’s fair that her parents won’t let her and her siblings have soda.

Adults who drink a sugar-sweetened beverage each day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight. In children, the number jumps to 60 percent.

Dr. Wayne Polek, President of the Illinois State Medical Society said, “One soda is not so bad. It’s just the amount of soda consumed in the past 20 or 30 years has gone up dramatically.”

It’s why Illinois’ delegation to the American Medical Association proposed a nationwide tax on sugary drinks of one cent an ounce to help curb consumption.

It would raise the $1 price of a 2-liter bottle of Coke from roughly $1.70.

Ron Hazuck with Filbert’s Specialty Sodas in Chicago said that kind of tax “would put us out of business.”

Filbert’s Specialty Sodas is a mom and pop store, located on the South Side, with roughly five employees. But owners believe what they call an extreme tax could also cripple the big guys like Coke and Pepsi.

“This year, sugar has doubled [in price] so in addition to the doubling of sugar and then you’re going to put a tax on it, it would be very bad,” Hazuck said

But not all Americans are drinking in that advice. Tax proponents said it could help curb consumption, but also help generate $15 billion annually to help fight obesity.

Alyssa Floro admitted that when her mom isn’t looking, she’ll drink Mountain dew at her grandmother’s house.

But delegates to the AMA’s convention here in Chicago were concerned about where to draw the line with a soda tax, wondering whether sports drinks intended to provide a needed sugar boost be included.

The AMA has decided to study the issue for at least another six months.

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