HFA Newsletter, August 2017


In this month’s newsletter: Leaders from the Seattle and Santa Fe campaigns will share their experiences in a webinar on Sept. 12 … How did Seattle and Boulder pass their sugary drink taxes? We summarize the takeaways in two new Policy Profiles … Our latest edition of Research Watch highlights an evaluation of the LiveSugarfreed mass media campaign, a new meta-analysis on the health effects of diet drinks, and much more … We roundup recent media coverage of the sugar reduction movement.

Webinar: Lessons from the Santa Fe and Seattle Sugary Drink Tax Campaigns


Seattle council chambers during the second hearing for the sugary drink tax ordinance, May 17, 2017.

In the first half of 2017, two major cities made the decision whether to tax sugary drinks: Santa Fe and Seattle. Join us Tuesday Sept. 12 at 2pm ET/11am PT to get the play-by-play of what happened from the leaders of Santa Fe’s ballot measure campaign and Seattle’s council vote:

  • Eli Il Yong Lee and Sandra Wechsler, Political strategists for the Santa Fe campaign
  • Vic Colman, Director of Washington State’s Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition
  • Seattle Councilmember Tim Burgess

Space is limited to 100 participants; please sign up here and we will send invitations with the webinar link before the event.

New Policy Profiles on the Seattle and Boulder Sugary Drink Tax Campaigns

POlicy Profile

Equity was a focal point in the policy development of Seattle and Boulder’s sugary drink taxes. Boulder was the first city to write funding dedication for health equity into its ordinance language. Community advocates in Seattle rallied to get funding dedicated for healthy food access and kindergarten readiness. Read these two latest additions to our tax campaign Policy Profile series for more highlights from these two winning campaigns. 

Research Watch, Volume 2, Issue 4

Research Watch

In the latest edition of HFA’s Research Watch, a bimonthly compendium of the most current and compelling research on sugar, health and policy, we cover:

  • A new meta-analysis that finds no health benefits from nonnutritive sweeteners and possible negative effects for weight and cardiometabolic disease risk.
  • An intervention that focused on reducing sugary drink intake reduces sugar and calorie consumption, and may be a gateway to other dietary improvements.
  • A study finding national-level nutrition policies such as sugary drink taxes and fruit and vegetable subsidies could reduce cardiovascular disease burden.
  • Two new modeling studies that look at potential benefits from a sugary drink tax in Australia: productivity will increase with a healthier work force, and low-income households may benefit most from health improvements.

Research Spotlight: LiveSugarfreed

Live Sugar Feed

An evaluation of LiveSugarfreed, a mass media campaign about the health harm of sugary drinks, found a small but significant reduction in sugary drink purchases in rural Appalachia. The campaign emphasized the health risks of drinking sugary drinks, such as weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, by comparing soda to cigarettes. After just 15 weeks, sugary drink sales dropped 3.4 percent, and residents were more likely to recognize the health harms of sugary drinks. This is one of the first studies to evaluate the efficacy of a mass media campaign on reducing sugary drink consumption and may open the door for more research in this area. You can view the campaign’s website here.

For a deeper dive into these findings, download the latest issue of Research Watch here.  You can also subscribe here to receive new issues of Research Watch delivered directly to your inbox.

Highlights From Our Media Updates

It’s been an eventful summer for the sugar reduction movement. Here are some noteworthy stories, in case you missed them.

New C.D.C. Chief Saw Coca-Cola as Ally in Obesity Fight. (The New York Times)
The new CDC chief, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, accepted $1 million to fight child obesity from Coca-Cola, even though experts say it is a major cause of the epidemic. She also suggested that she would consider accepting Coke money for CDC programs. 

‘We’re losing more people to the sweets than to the streets.’ (The Washington Post) Two black pastors and the Praxis Project are suing Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association because they are tired of presiding over funerals for parishioners who died of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. The lawsuit claims that soda manufacturers deliberately deceived customers about the health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages — at the expense of their communities’ health.

Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback. (WTTW Chicago PBS) Cook County’s sweetened drink tax began on August 2nd after a judge dismissed an Illinois Retail Merchants Association lawsuit that temporarily prevented it from being implemented. A heavy public relations campaign against the tax continues, as well as multiple legal battles. Watch County Board President Preckwinkle respond to questions about the tax here.

Half of Americans have diabetes or a high risk for it – and many of them are unaware. (The LA Times)
A CDC report shows that nearly half of Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for the condition. Many of these people haven’t been diagnosed and aren’t aware they have a serious health condition.  Read the CDC report here.

Slow Drip: Soda Declining on Kids’ Menus.  (CSPI)
The percentage of major restaurant chains that offer sugary drinks on their children’s menus has decreased significantly since 2008 (from 93 percent to 74 percent), according to a new report from Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Want to help accelerate moving science to action? Your gift can help us bring sugar back to healthy levels. Click to donate.

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