Wow. What a groundbreaking 12 months for the motion to carry sugar again to wholesome ranges! In the beginning of 2016, Berkeley CA was the one group in america with a tax on sugary drinks. We ended the 12 months with six extra, after each proposed tax went on to adoption, whether or not by poll (4) or laws (two).
Shoppers additionally received an enormous victory this 12 months when the Meals and Drug Administration lastly accredited a requirement that processed meals listing grams of added sugars on vitamin labels, together with the proportion of the advisable each day most they characterize.
It was the 12 months when each information and social media caught a sugar buzz, as new consciousness got here to mild in regards to the well being harms from sugar and business efforts to pooh-pooh it.
Sugar purveyors had their “Massive Tobacco second,” as The New Yorker put it, when researchers unearthed long-buried paperwork that make clear how, beginning within the 1960s, the sugar business co-opted vitamin science to shift blame for coronary heart illness away from sugar to an unique concentrate on fats and ldl cholesterol. The story received front-page protection from coast to coast.
New pointers from the American Coronary heart Affiliation launched this 12 months suggest youngsters 2-18 ought to eat fewer than 6 teaspoons of added sugars per day. Kids underneath two shouldn’t eat meals or drinks with added sugars, together with sugary drinks. A research printed in September confirmed warning labels on sugary drinks are a promising technique to steer youngsters away from shopping for sugary drinks. (For a complete take a look at methods to curb sugar, see our sugar advocacy toolkit – additionally produced this 12 months.)
However the runaway success story of the 12 months goes to sugary drink taxes. First got here the World Well being Group’s October name for governments to embrace them as a key technique to “decrease consumption and cut back weight problems, kind 2 diabetes and tooth decay.”
Then got here the ballot-box sweep. Pressured to combat on a number of fronts, Massive Soda spent huge bucks – over $40 million this 12 months alone – however did not cease any of the decided communities from passing taxes on sugary drinks. In the meantime, pro-tax momentum was pushed by constructive impacts being reported from locations like Berkeley and Mexico that already had a tax. In Berkeley, for instance, one research discovered that low-income neighborhoods noticed a 21 p.c drop in consumption of soda and different sugary drinks within the months after town launched a tax.
Town-by-city method to taxing sugary drinks has taken root with an infinite potential to affect the nation’s well being for the higher. Wholesome Meals America, launched early this 12 months, was lucky to have the ability to present technical help to advocates and decision-makers in states and localities which might be creating insurance policies to curb extreme sugar.
With every victory, HFA Govt Director Jim Krieger cheered for the native campaigns:
Philadelphia PA (June 16): “The daring motion by Philadelphia’s mayor and metropolis council, within the face of $5 million value of business strain, is a win not only for the well being and well-being of Philadelphia youngsters however for communities throughout the nation.”
San Francisco CA, Oakland CA, Albany CA, and Boulder CO (November 8): “Regardless of the billions spent on advertising and greater than $30 million in deceitful marketing campaign adverts, voters noticed the reality and despatched a transparent message that their households’ well being comes first – because of an unbelievable, neighbor-to-neighbor grassroots marketing campaign led by passionate and efficient native advocates and assist from Michael Bloomberg and Laura and John Arnold that helped stage the enjoying discipline. This vote is an historic turning level within the effort to carry sugar again to wholesome ranges.”
Cook dinner County IL (November 10): “Mixed, the seven Bay Space, Philadelphia, Boulder, and Cook dinner County taxes will herald estimated revenues of over $342 million per 12 months. They may also lengthen hundreds of lives and minimize diabetes and weight problems charges whereas saving greater than $360 million in healthcare prices over the subsequent decade.”
With momentum on the rise, we’re certain to have much more to cheer in 2017. Let’s construct on the success of our efforts in 2016 and make subsequent 12 months one other milestone in addressing well being inequities fueled by sugar.