We at the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California are excited to see the results from the latest Field poll showing that California’s voters overwhelmingly believe that sugary drinks should have a health impact fee placed on their distribution in our great state.
This confirms our daily conversations and observations with communities across California where voters recognize the importance of internalizing the health costs of the overconsumption of sugary drinks. When 47% of the added sugars in the American diet coming from sugary drink consumption, there is a direct line to the elevated levels of diabetes in our State, especially among our most vulnerable populations.
A recent study by the UCLA Health Policy Research Center found that 43% of Latinos, 40% of American Indians and Alaska Natives, 39% of African Americans and Asian and Pacific Islanders, and 27% of Whites who were hospitalized in 2011 had diabetes. And, the American Diabetes Association has estimated that diabetes is costing California $37.1 billion in both direct and indirect costs.
Both the human and economic costs of these preventable chronic diseases are too high and one solution is to develop a dedicated revenue source that can support nutrition education, opportunities for physical activity, access to free and clean water, and also access to fresh fruits and vegetables in our most vulnerable communities.
Science is on our side, the voters are on our side, and many legislators are also on our side. And, 20 years from now, history will confirm that our efforts to address the overconsumption of sugary drinks was the right side from both moral and economic perspectives.