The American Beverage Association, which had fought the tax plan from the beginning, issued a statement lauding the AMA for adopting "a comprehensive approach to addressing the complex problem of obesity."
"We don't want sugared soft drinks in schools, but a federal tax made a lot of people uncomfortable," said Dr. William Hamilton, a Salt Lake City anesthesiologist who attended the AMA meeting Tuesday in Las Vegas to discuss the issue.
However, AMA President-elect Dr. Ron Davis said that the taxing of soda may yet come to pass, because soda is the No. 1 source of calories in the American diet, accounting for 7 percent overall.
"The epidemic of obesity in the U.S. has been developing and growing for 30 years, and it's going to take decades to turn it around," he said.
"This decision by the American Medical Association to side with sugary soda manufacturers is actually not very surprising," said Mike Adams, author of "The Five Soft Drink Monsters," a book on how to overcome soft drink addictions. "This is a medical organization that once openly promoted name-brand cigarettes in the pages of its journal, JAMA.
"In my opinion, the AMA stands more for profits and power than anything resembling genuine public health."