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Berkeley’s Soda Tax: Turning the Tides on Big Soda

victory yes on d cover photoIn case you missed it last week (and in the Bay Area, you would have to be living under a rock to miss it), Berkeley’s soda tax passed (Measure D) with a whopping 75% of the vote. A HUGE victory for the public health world, and helping the City of Berkeley continue to pursue a healthier community. Thanks to the Berkeley vs. Big Soda team for being an amazing group of colleagues to work with.

I wrote two blog posts – a before and after, if you will – for JSI’s blog, The Pump. Read them at the links below:

“In California, a tax on sugary drinks is the first step in the fight against obesity” (11/3/14)

“Berkeley Passes the Nation’s First Soda Tax” (11/5/14)

Thanks for reading!

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Upcoming Event: Berkeley Soda Series

sodaseriesIn an effort to raise awareness about the health and environmental impacts of soda and other sugary drinks, the Berkeley Healthy Child Coalition and several other local organizations are hosting Soda: The Series from September 4th through October 9th. The series of community events will include Berkeley leaders alongside speakers such as Dr. Robert Lustig (a renowned UCSF researcher on sugar), Raj Patel (award-winning writer, activist, and academic), and Anna Lappé (author and director of Small Planet Institute) discussing the science of sugary drinks, tactics of the soda industry, and disease prevention efforts. These events take place in the run-up to the November election, when Berkeley will vote on Measure D, a tax on sugary drinks.

Visit SodaSeries.org for more information and to download the flyer!

 

Fighting Big Soda in Berkeley

My blogging always falls off the radar when I’m busy. But, this time, I have a good reason – I’m volunteering with the Berkeley vs. Big Soda campaign to pass a tax on sugary drinks in the city of Berkeley, California.

berkvsbigsoda

Sugary drinks – like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and even juices with added sugar – have repeatedly been linked to increase risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay. Yet, the beverage industry (aka Big Soda) relentlessly markets these unhealthy drinks despite their harmful health effects. Deceptive marketing most often targets kids and communities of color. As a public health advocate, I truly believe that we need strong policy approaches to address the chronic diseases caused by sugary drinks – educational campaigns on the topic just aren’t sufficient to reduce soda consumption when people are inundated with Big Soda’s targeted marketing.

Berkeley is proposing a tax on distributors of sugary drinks to tell Big Soda that we won’t let them profit at the expense of our community’s health any longer. Revenue from the tax could be used to fund community- and school-based obesity prevention programs. We also hope that by raising awareness of the issue of soda-related diseases, Berkeley’s families and residents will rethink their beverage choices and sugary drink consumption will decline over time.

I encourage you to visit our website and follow us on social media to learn what we’re all about:

If you happen to be a local reader, please volunteer and donate. The decision on the ballot measure will be finalized at the Berkeley City Council meeting on June 24th. Let’s make Berkeley the first city in the U.S. to pass a tax on sugary drinks!

UPDATE: As of July 1st, the Berkeley soda tax (now known as Measure D) is officially on the November ballot!

July 1 tweet

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