Online Program

Assessing Support for Policies to Reduce Sugar Sweetened Beverages among Likely Voters in Hawaii

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Jay Maddock, PhD, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawai'i Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Kailene Nihipali, Hawaii Public Health Institute, Honolulu, HI
Jessica Yamauchi, MA, Hawaii Public Health Institute, Honolulu, HI
Sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is a contributor to obesity. Health policies, including warning labels, removing SSBs from children’s meals and adding taxes to SSBs are promising ways to reduce consumption.  However, elected officials are often reticent to pass policies if the public does not support it.  This study assessed support for policies around SSB consumption to inform legislators and target advocacy.  During the Fall of 2014, 500 likely voters in Hawaii completed a random digit dial survey. The mean age was 56 (sd=17.8) and males (50.3%) comprised half of the multiethnic sample. Obesity and diabetes were rated as major problems in Hawaii by over 70% of respondents.  Most participants (>80%) saw consumption of SSBs as both a serious health hazard and a significant cause of obesity.  Most (70%) respondents agreed that state leaders should be doing more to fight obesity.  However, only 49% agreed that leaders should enact laws to reduce SSB consumption.  Half (50%) of respondents supported adding a 1-cent per ounce fee on SSBs.  This increased to 67% if funds were used for obesity prevention programs.  Most respondents (72%) supported warning labels on SSBs.  Half (49%) agreed that toys should be given in kid’s meals only when healthy beverages were chosen. This study indicates that the population is aware of obesity and risks associated with SSB consumption.  However, they are less supportive of policy action.  Advocates should work to educate the public on specific legislation while working with legislators to ensure funding is allocated for obesity prevention.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the level of support among voters for different SSB policies. Assess potential ways to develop advocacy campaigns based on data.

Keyword(s): Public Health Policy, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have authored over 90 papers in the field and have conducted relevant research for the past 15 years.
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.