Sugary drinks – carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks-are the single largest source of added sugar in the U.S. diet. Studies have found links between sugary drink intake and weight gain and higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and most recently – mortality. While intake of sugary drinks has been declining overall, a recent uptick in consumption among adults and continued high levels of consumption among adolescents would suggest the need for effective actions to reduce consumption.
Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association called for public policies, including sugary drink excise taxes, to decrease the consumption of sugary drinks by children and adolescents. Such taxes have been considered across the country in recent years, and enacted in several locations. A panel of experts will consider the evidence for implementing sugary drink taxes and provide insights on the potential roles they play in promoting public health.
On May 15, the CHOICES Project presented a panel on sugary drink taxes – what are they, why are they happening, and what are they doing? The panel was moderated by Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition in the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The expert panelists were:
• Steven Gortmaker, Professor of the Practice of Health Sociology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Director at the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
• Sara Bleich, Professor of Public Health Policy in the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
• Jim Krieger, Executive Director of Healthy Food America and Clinical Professor of Medicine and Health Services at the University of Washington
• Rachel Arndt, Built Environment and Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Coordinator at Boulder County Public Health
Watch the recording of the presentation below.