"The AMA is right to say there's no definitive science showing that lowering soda consumption will lower obesity [levels]," says Katz. "But I support the tax, because I think we should be doing everything we can to improve dietary patterns and promote health."
Requiring data that shows that a soda tax would single-handedly lower obesity is like putting out one sandbag and gathering data on whether it will hold back a flood, he says.
"If you do it that way, when all is said and done you don't build the levy, and it's the collective levy that works. This tax could be one of many strategies to fight off obesity," Katz says.
The AMA reference committee in charge of evaluating support for a soda tax will further investigate research on sugary beverages and obesity, and present their findings at next summer's AMA meeting.
Public health matters that did made the cut for AMA support this week included improving the nutritive value of prison food, discouraging advertising companies from using Photoshop to make models preternaturally thin and investigating the health impact of full body airport scanners.