HFA Newsletter, October 2017


In this month’s newsletter: Lafayette, Colorado youth stand up for kids against big soda ... National sugary drink taxes keep gaining global momentum ... Urge FDA Not to Delay the Updated Nutrition Facts Label ... National Academy of Sciences releases brief to limit sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in young children ... A roundup of recent media coverage of the sugar reduction movement.

Lafayette, Colorado Youth Stand Up for Kids against Big Soda

Kids Against Soda

Via Chana Goussetis and Tessa Hale, Boulder County Public Health. Photo: Kyle Pfister, Ninjas for Health.

On Tuesday, October 17, the Lafayette City Council passed an ordinance to promote children’s health by requiring that only healthy beverages, such as water, milk, and milk alternatives, be offered on local restaurant kids’ menus. Spearheaded by the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee, Lafayette’s Choice was first introduced to City Council on September 5.

“It’s our health,” said Adriana Iturbe, a member of Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee. “So, we felt it was our responsibility to speak up and take action for ourselves and the other kids in Lafayette.”
The adopted ordinance is the sixth of its kind in the country and the first outside the state of California. It also marks the first youth-led sugary beverage campaign in the nation. The policy builds on Lafayette’s designation as a HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Cities and Towns by increasing access to healthy foods in an effort to address childhood obesity.  For more information about this success story, contact Tessa Hale at Boulder County Public Health, [email protected].

National Sugary Drink Taxes Keep Gaining Global Momentum

Global Momentum

By Roberta R. Friedman, ScM, Public Health Policy Consultant, [email protected]

Belgium, Chile, Dominica, France, Hungary, Mexico, Norway, and Portugal.  

What do these and 21 other* countries and territories have in common?  They’ve all implemented taxes on sugary drinks. While not all the taxes are large enough yet to affect consumption, most countries cited health-related reasons for imposing them --  to encourage people to consume fewer sugary drinks and less sugar overall, protect children from obesity and lifelong poor health, and help all residents control overweight and diabetes.  Many countries direct the funds toward health-related programs.

This international momentum for sugary drink taxes continues at a steady pace, with the encouragement of such renowned groups as the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization, which cite taxes as an important way to beat obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.  This year, Portugal and Catalonia imposed sugary drink taxes, and public health communities world-wide eagerly await the implementation of already-passed taxes in the United Kingdom and Ireland in April of 2018, and in South Africa at some point in 2018.  Panama just introduced legislation that would allocate soda tax revenue toward the National Cancer Institute and the prevention and treatment of diabetes. These countries follow the triumphant success of Mexico’s 2014 tax initiative, which received worldwide attention. The peso-per-ounce tax there has resulted in an average 7.6% drop in consumption over two years, according to a study by Barry Popkin and colleagues, published early this year.

As nations around the globe continue to struggle with public health crises fueled in part by the overconsumption of sugary drinks, health organizations and government officials in Canada, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and Australia have actively considered taxes within the last few years.  It’s only a matter of time before the good work of advocates around the world reaches a sweet spot, and we can report that the list of countries with sugary drink taxes has once again grown.

*American Samoa, Barbados, Brunei, Catalonia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Mauritius, Nauru, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, St. Helena, Tonga

For more information:

Urge FDA Not to Delay the Updated Nutrition Facts Label


Via Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Graphic: FDA.

The FDA recently proposed delaying the updated Nutrition Facts label from July 2018 to January 2020 for large companies the deadline to use the new labels from July 2018 to January 2020 for large companies. It has further delayed compliance for small companies from July 2019 to January 2021, and they account for a whopping 90 percent of the industry. The updated Nutrition Facts label would clearly indicate the amount of added sugar in a product, make calorie counts more visible, and reflect more realistic serving sizes.

The FDA is accepting comments through November 1, 2017.  For step-by-step submission instructions and a model letter, visit CSPI’s website. You can also activate your networks to comment using CSPI’s online alert here.

National Academy of Sciences Releases Brief to Limit Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in Young Children

Kick the Sugar

The National Academy of Sciences hosted a workshop over the summer on strategies to limit sugary drink consumption in early childhood. This brief summary, released by the National Academies Press earlier this month, highlights key points made by presenters. All presentations are also available for download here. Full proceedings of the workshop will be released at a later date.

Highlights of the workshop include: 

  • Prevalence and trends of sugary drink consumption in children 0-5 years old, and a review of recommendations and guidelines for beverage consumption in this age group.
  • Federal, state, and local policies and strategies to limit sugary drink consumption, and their challenges and opportunities.
  • The role that industry can play in influencing and improving beverage consumption in young children.
  • Identifying knowledge gaps, opportunities, and research needs around future policies, programs, and strategies

For more of the latest scientific findings on sugary drinks, explore Healthy Food America’s issues of Research Watch.  You can subscribe here to receive new issues delivered directly to your inbox.

Highlights From Our Media Updates

How to Win Against Big Soda. (The New York Times 10/15/17) “When efforts for sugary drink taxes are driven and supported by community coalitions that build awareness early on, they’re better able to withstand industry attacks. Strong coalitions are vital both to adopt new taxes and to ensure they remain to curb consumption and generate funds for public health programs.”  

Anti-Tax Hired Guns Pay $11 an Hour for Workers to ‘Educate’ Cook County Voters on Repeal. (The Chicago Tribune 9/29/17) “Can the Tax has targeted certain commissioners, including Stanley Moore, a Democrat who voted for the pop tax.... [they’re] spending money to single out Moore and three fellow Democratic commissioners...”

Michigan Lawmakers Vote to Preemptively Ban Soda, Food Taxes. (Associated Press 10/4/17) “’It is at the local level where governments can build upon state laws to create policy solutions to best meet the needs of their constituents. Local control is essential for good public health,’ wrote Andrew Schepers, a Michigan-based lobbyist for the [American] Cancer Society.”

POLITICO-Harvard Poll: Majority Support Soda Taxes to Fund Pre-K, Health Programs. (POLITICO 9/21/17) “Taxing sugary drinks to fund education and health programs geared toward children was one of the only areas in the food policy sphere in which the survey found a clear majority.”

Boulder Sugary Drink Tax Supports Health, Wellness. (KUSA-TV) “Last year, Boulder voters approved the Sugary Drink Tax charging two cents for every ounce of a drink like soda.... Community Food Share received $66,000 in funding generated by tax revenue and will purchase about 280,000 more pounds of produce to distribute to families and other community agencies.”

$5.4 Million in Ads Devoted to Philly Soda Tax Battle This Year. (WHYY 9/27/17) “If you devoted $5 million to expanding prekindergarten in Philadelphia, one of the main uses for the beverage tax, it would fund pre-K for nearly 600 kids.... The American Beverage Association’s filings under the city lobbying disclosure law show the group spent just under $3 million between Jan. 1 and June 30 of this year on ‘indirect communications’ – ads aimed at persuading the public that the tax is a bad idea.”

Gatorade to Pay $300,000 over Advergame that Knocked Water. (Digital News Daily 9/25/17) “The advergame... featured a cartoon version of a Jamaican sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. ‘Throughout the race, water was inaccurately and negatively depicted as hindering the sprinter’s performance,’ the Attorney General [Xavier Becerra] alleged.”

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