New York lawmakers review proposal to require warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages

Public health advocates want New York to require labels on sugary drinks to warn consumers about the dangers of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

Sharon Akabas, a professor at Columbia University's Institute of Human Nutrition, told state lawmakers Monday that New York could set a national trend by mandating warnings on cans and bottles of regular soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

Lawmakers heard from both sides of the debate at a hearing in New York City.

The proposal's author, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, said labels could save thousands of lives.

Retailers and beverage companies oppose the idea. Ken Pokalsky of the Business Council of New York State questioned why sugary beverages should be singled out and said he doubts labels would be effective.

California lawmakers defeated a similar proposal last year.