Online Program

Analyzing the effects of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax on la county's low-income and communities of color: A health impact assessment study

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Breanna Morrison, MPL, Community Health and Education, Community Health Councils, Los Angeles, CA
LaVonna B. Lewis, PhD, Policy, Planning, and Development, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Lark Galloway-Gilliam, MPA, Community Health Councils, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
Gwendolyn Flynn, REACH US Project, Community Health Councils, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
Copious research demonstrates the health implications associated with high rates of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption amongst American children and adults. These data have been utilized to inform various policy initiatives aimed at reducing SSB consumption throughout the country. However, many studies do not analyze the social, environmental and cultural factors of low-income and communities of color when projecting the impacts of the proposed policies on consumption patterns and health outcomes. Community Health Councils, a non-profit community-based organization in South Los Angeles, conducted a multi-sectorial Health Impact Assessment studying the effects of the latest SSB state tax proposal on the nutrition behaviors of predominantly African-American, Hispanic/Latino and Southeast Asian communities in Los Angeles County. These communities are plagued with the highest SSB consumption rates, the highest nutrition-related chronic disease rates, and the most prolific disparities in healthy food and beverage access in the County. To identify solutions that address these disparities, this study completed a retail environment assessment, focus groups, key informant interviews, GIS, surveys and empirical data research. Study results found that barriers to access to healthy beverage alternatives, perceptions of tap water quality, inequitable billboard marketing code enforcement, cultural predispositions and informal food economies are factors that could significantly undermine the effectiveness of a tax in improving nutrition behaviors. Strategies to reduce SSB consumption must address these factors to effectively reduce health disparities around SSBs in vulnerable communities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the ability of a Health Impact Assessment study to engage community members in the policy development process, inform policy-makers, and build community leadership. Examine the potential impact of a proposed sugar-sweetened beverage tax policy on health outcomes of resource poor, under-served communities of color utilizing social, environmental, and cultural factors unique to these communities. Develop innovative policy solutions to reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in low-income and communities of color.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Public Health, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal lead of two Health Impact Assessment studies analyzing the health implications of proposed policies addressing fast food development and sugar-sweetened consumption in vulnerable communities. I also founded a Community Researcher program that has equipped nearly 100 South LA residents with CBPR and advocacy skills to become agents for positive social change in their communities. Additionally, I have led advocacy campaigns resulting in food-resource environment improvements for over 700,000 South LA residents.
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.