U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) has introduced an amendment to the federal Farm Bill that would require the federal government to study the possible link between sugary beverages and obesity in the United States. The study would also investigate how public health proposals that affect the cost and size of sugary beverages would impact obesity.

Lautenberg says, “We know that soda is a major source of bad calories for Americans, and it’s time for the federal government to determine whether these beverages are contributing to our nation's obesity problem. ”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 million people in the United States are overweight or obese, and obesity kills more than 110,000 Americans every year. The childhood obesity rate in the United States where 31 percent of American children are overweight or obese is one of the highest in the world. Between 1973 and 2008, the childhood obesity rate in the United States more than doubled, from 15 percent to nearly 32 percent of American children.

“Obesity is not merely an inconvenience it’s a serious health hazard,” insists Lautenberg. “With roughly one out of every three American children suffering the health impacts of being obese, we owe it to our kids and our country to learn more about what is causing this plague. We need to know what impact sugary drinks have on obesity and if proposals that encourage Americans to drink fewer high-sugar drinks will reduce obesity.”

Lautenberg's amendment is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, American Public Health Association, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.