Our communities are drowning in a swamp of unhealthy junk food and beverages, leading to an epidemic of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and tooth decay. Added sugars in our food and drinks are a major threat to public health. And healthy food can be expensive and hard to find in many places.

Healthy Food America is on the frontlines of the fight to ensure that all people have access to healthy, nutritious food and are less exposed to unhealthy junk foods.

We support community leaders across the nation who are advocating for policies and strategies like soda taxes and healthy food incentives to make healthy eating easier for all Americans.

We share the latest research and cutting edge policy and advocacy strategies so advocates can act on the best information and science to drive change in policy, food environments and industry practices. Read more about us.

Marketing Unhealthy Beverages

New commentary: To Protect Young Children’s Health, Limit Marketing and Ubiquity of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages.

Children are exposed to unhealthy food environments created by a food industry that creates, promotes, and sells far too many unhealthy, ultraprocessed products. The commentary discusses a suite of policies to reduce the impact of marketing of unhealthy foods to young children, including countermarketing, regulatory actions, legal interventions, taxation, and front-of-package warning labels. It was published in the American Journal of Public Health in October 2022.


A tax on sugary drinks can raise revenue for programs communities want and reduce consumption of an unhealthy product. Learn more!


A new study from University of Washington, led by HFA Executive Director Jim Krieger and University of Washington Associate Professor Jesse Jones-Smith is the first to use real-world tax data to describe the economic equity aspects of sweetened beverage taxes (SBTs). The study looked at taxes paid and benefits received from programs supported with tax revenues by people with lower and higher incomes in three cities with taxes. Not surprisingly, it found that people with lower incomes paid a larger proportion of their household income on SBTs compared to those with higher incomes, although the proportion of their incomes were quite small, ranging from 0.06% to 0.5% across the three cities. The annual per person dollar amount paid in taxes was also small ($5.50- $31) and did not differ by income level. Notably, the study found the net tax effect was to redistribute dollars from higher to lower income households. The dollar amount of tax revenues funding programs targeted towards people with lower incomes is greater than the amount they pay in taxes. This suggests a SBT is a progressive, equitable public policy when tax revenues are intentionally invested in communities with lower incomes.

You can read the study here, and learn more about equity in sweetened beverage tax policy on our webpage.

Key Findings

  • Lower income populations paid a higher percentage of their income in beverage taxes relative to higher income populations, although the percentage was small: (0.06% - 0.5% vs. 0.01 - 0.06%).
  • There was no difference in the dollar amount of taxes paid per person per year by lower income and higher income households, which ranged from $5.50 to $31 across cities and income groups.
  • The investment of tax revenues in lower income communities was greater than the amount these communities paid in taxes. The opposite was true for higher income communities.
  • The annual net benefit to lower income communities ranged from $5.3 million to $16.4 million across the three U.S. cities included in the study.

In this issue:

  • Identifying Financially Sustainable Pricing Interventions to Promote Healthier Beverage Purchases in Small Neighborhood Stores
  • Review of 100% Fruit Juice and Chronic Health Conditions: Implications for Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Policy
  • The Short-Term Impacts of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax on Beverage Consumption
  • Science organisations and Coca-Cola’s ‘war’ with the public health community: insights from an internal industry document
  • Tackling Obesity and Disease: The Culprit Is Sugar; the Response Is Legal Regulation
  • The negative impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on children’s health: an update of the literature
  • Equity impacts of price policies to promote healthy behaviours
  • The State of US Health, 1990-2016: Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Among US States
  • The association of flavored milk consumption with milk and energy intake, and obesity: A systematic review
  • Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity in US Children, 1999–2016

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