Support Grows For Soda Taxes

Support Grows For Soda Taxes

Tue 19 Feb 2013

Story by The Food Revolution Team

California voters believe that sugary sodas are a major cause of obesity and that such beverages should be taxed if the money raised goes toward improving nutrition and fitness programs in schools.

Findings from the latest ‘Field-The California Endowment Childhood Obesity Prevention Survey’ show that California voters continue to say that obesity is a serious problem and support actions to combat the epidemic. The survey was conducted by telephone in six languages and dialects among 1,184 California voters, and is the third in a series of annual surveys on the issue conducted by The Field Poll on behalf of The California Endowment.

75% of voters, including 85% of Latinos, believe regularly drinking sodas like Coke, Pepsi or Mountain Dew definitely increases a person’s chance of becoming overweight or obese.
However, fewer voters saw the link between obesity and energy drinks and sports drinks despite scientific research also showing a link between obesity and these other popular sugar-sweetened beverages. Only 42% think regularly drinking energy drinks like Red Bull, Rockstar or Monster definitely increases a person’s chances of being overweight or obese, and just 26% say this about sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade.

When voters state-wide were initially asked their opinion of the idea of taxing the sale of sugar sweetened beverages, more were opposed (53%) than in favor (40%). However, support increased dramatically - 68% in favor vs. 29% opposed - if proceeds from the tax were to be used in improving school nutrition and physical activity programs.

Other findings of the survey include:

• A majority of voters say not enough attention is being paid to the problem of childhood obesity in their community.
• Seven in ten or more voters support policies to discourage unhealthy foods/sugar-sweetened drinks in schools, childcare and youth centers.
• Nearly all voters feel it’s very important to make fresh, clean drinking water freely available to students in the local public schools.
• Three in four voters support policies to increase the availability of healthy foods in low income and urban areas.

The full study and results can be seen here.

Taxing the sale of sugary drinks is a hot topic at the moment, many states are currently proposing such actions and doctors in the UK have called for fizzy drinks to be heavily taxed and junk food adverts banished until after the watershed, in a call for action over obesity. Read more here.

Check out this infographic from the CSPI on sugary drinks and how they are making us sick.

The Food Revolution Team

Harvard University, (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) LA Times


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