SF Health Officials’ Five-Year Evaluation of Soda Tax: A Remarkable Success

Five years after implementing San Francisco’s sugary beverage tax, city leaders and health experts are feeling upbeat.

“We all know that taxes are generally unpopular, right?” Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said in a presentation Tuesday. “But the important thing is that something like this happened. And it’s improving public health.”

Taxes generated approximately $72 The total amount has reached $1 million since the 2017-18 fiscal year, said Cristina Goyette, deputy director of community services at the Ministry of Public Health, who helped campaign for the measure in 2016. The majority of donations go directly to improving nutrition, one of the most effective preventive measures. Diabetes and food rationing.

By funding education initiatives, taxes changed behavior. About 81 percent of participants in the tax-funded program drink more water compared to sugary drinks like juices, sports drinks, and soda, and about 83 percent drink more water, Goette said. of fruits and vegetables. Regularly.

“These are the longer-term changes that we’re always looking for,” Goyette said.

The tax will also help fund essential food distribution during the COVID-19 pandemic, with partnerships with organizations providing approximately $2.4 million worth of fruits and vegetables to low-income households in the past fiscal year. Goyette added.

Additionally, an unpublished model of national sugar taxes in six cities found that the potential risk of gestational diabetes, diabetes in pregnant women, was reduced by 2.2 percent compared to cities without sugar-sweetened beverage taxes. found. Hispanic women appear to benefit the most, reducing their risk of developing gestational diabetes by about 60 percent.

“It’s too good to be true,” said Dr. Dean Schillinger, director of UCSF’s Health Communication Research Program.

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