Cancer group: US must see soda health risk like tobacco risk

"We know there is a direct link between excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity, and the adverse health effect can be profound."

Obesity is considered the United States' leading public health crisis. It is the country's No. 2 cause of preventable death, according to the Get America Fit Foundation.

Writing to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusThe House needs to help patients from being victimized by antiquated technology Obama cabinet official: Clinton White House doubled down on 'abusive behavior' John Roberts has tough job of keeping faith in Supreme Court MORE, Hansen sought to highlight a possible link between obesity and cancer.

He cited his group's cancer-prevention guidelines, which state, "Consuming a healthy diet can substantially reduce one’s lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer."

A "comprehensive" surgeon general study on the issue could "perhaps begin to change the direction of public behavior in their choices of food and drinks," he wrote.

Hansen's letter was dated Tuesday.