According to an L.A. Times article by Patrick McGreevy, California lawmakers wish to enforce what they refer to as a “healthy impact fee” of two cents per ounce on soda and other sugary beverages in an effort to fight a current diabetes epidemic in the state.
Another article on Techtimes.com by Rina Marie Doctor states that nearly half of Californian adults are prediabetic. Many factors contribute to the widespread diabetes, including lack of free time, sleep, access to safe play places, food deserts, and more. However, simply decreasing soda consumption could drastically decrease ones risk of obtaining obesity as a study according to a study on Harvard School of Public Health entitled Sugary Drinks and Obesity Fact Sheet found. That paper said that for each additional 12-ounce soda consumed per day, a person increased their risk for obtaining obesity by sixty percent.
The tax will hopefully force younger people to consume less unhealthy beverages as it won’t be as affordable. Hopefully, the tax can indirectly be a contribution in terms of increasing self esteem in children as well. A study by Eureka Alert entitled “Obesity Can Be Harmful To Your Child’s Mental Health” states that obese girls between the ages of thirteen and fourteen are four times more likely to experience low self esteem than non-obese girls. The same article also states that both obese boys and girls are more likely to suffer from loneliness, sadness, and nervousness.
“As a practicing child psychiatrist, I see a clear association between obesity and depression and anxiety disorders among children and teens,” says David Fassler, M.D., an APA Trustee and child and adolescent psychiatrist from the Eureka Alert entitled Obesity Can Be Harmful To Your Child’s Mental Health by the America Psychiatric Association.
In addition, the expected $2 billion raised from this “healthy impact fee”, as stated by the L.A. Times article by Patrick McGreevy, is intended to go towards counties, cities, community-based organizations and licensed clinics in creating and maintaining obesity and diabetes prevention programs.
With obesity and diabetes heavily affecting today’s youth in a negative way, there is absolutely no doubt that action must be taken to prevent the further spread of obesity and diabetes. However, is simply taxing soda the right way in going about this prevention? Healthier choices are already voiced by many but they are often not chosen because they are too expensive. Reducing the cost of healthier choices instead of increasing the cost of unhealthy choices could also be part of the answer to solve the epidemic on the horizon.