260933 Strategic message framing for sugar-sweetened beverage tax campaigns

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

Judy Jou, MA , School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN
Colleen Barry, PhD, MPP , Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Jeffrey Niederdeppe, PhD , Department of Communication, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Sarah Gollust, PhD , School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN
Introduction: Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxation is gaining popularity as a potential policy solution for rising obesity prevalence. Nineteen US states proposed SSB excise taxes during the 2010-2012 legislative cycles, with little success. This study identifies the main messages used by proponents of SSB taxation to influence public opinion and assesses their perceived effectiveness in shaping the policy process.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews will be held with major stakeholders in SSB tax policymaking. Stakeholders have been identified through a completed content analysis of media coverage in California, New York, and Tennessee; these states were selected based on their experience with recent legislation and geographic and political diversity. Interviews will address the following themes: 1) experience with SSB taxation, 2) messages used in support and opposition of SSB taxation, 3) perception of messages' success or failure, and 4) future strategies. Qualitative analysis (i.e., open coding) will be used to identify emerging themes and compare them across stakeholder type and state political contexts.

Results: We expect the interviews to be conducted in Spring 2012, with analysis to be completed during Summer 2012. Findings will be available prior to the October conference.

Discussion: Despite its promise as a tool to address obesity, SSB taxation has faced significant challenges in gaining political and public support. This study contributes to the literature by providing a better understanding of how stakeholders and advocates use message framing in gathering support for SSB taxation, with the aim of identifying promising message strategies to be used in future policy debates.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the main messages used in support of SSB tax legislation at the state level in the US. 2. Evaluate stakeholder perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of these messages and the extent to which they influenced policy processes. 3. Identify promising message strategies used in support of SSB taxation for use in future legislative debates.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student in Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities School of Public Health, with an interest in non-communicable diseases and behavioral risk factors. My MA thesis addressed SSB taxation at the federal level in the US, and I am currently working as a Graduate Research Assistant with Dr. Gollust and taking a lead role on the project described in this proposal.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.