HOP Faculty Writes Op-Ed for Orlando Sentinel Encouraging a Closer Look at Soda Taxes

2015-08-07_Dr._Michelle_Cardel-0894-EditMichelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., wrote and published an editorial in the Orlando Sentinel encouraging readers to take a more holistic look at reducing obesity and other public health issues rather than merely taxing soda. Her op-ed, “Dietitian: Emphasize healthy choices as incentives to lose weight,” which published on July 13, was one-half of a two-part series exploring the benefits and detriments of putting a tax on sugary, carbonated drinks. Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, wrote the other editorial, “Tax makes wallets thinner but doesn’t shrink waistlines: Beverage Advocate”.

“As an obesity scientist and registered dietitian, I see firsthand the physical, emotional, and social effects of the disease, so I understand the desire to single out a culprit for the obesity epidemic,” wrote Cardel in her editorial. “Though sugary drinks are essentially liquid candy and have little to no nutritional value, they are not the sole contributor to obesity. Obesity is a very complex disease affected by a variety of factors, including your genes, your environment, the amount of stress in your life, and your lifestyle.”

Cardel is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and is currently serving a three-year term as chair-elect for the American Society of Nutrition’s Obesity Research Interest Section. Her research focuses on understanding factors that contribute to the development of obesity and implementing effective prevention and treatment programs for childhood obesity in underserved populations. Her current project investigates the causal relationship between social status, eating behavior, obesity, and cardiovascular risk factors in Hispanic adolescents.

Click here to read the complete editorial.