Sugary Drinks

Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative (BANPAC) partnerships to address the health impacts of sugary beverages are guided by the following core principles.

Sugary beverages are the largest source of added sugar and an important contributor of calories in the U.S. diet. Sugary beverages are typically also empty calories, tend to have few, if any, other nutrients. Overconsumption of sugary beverages is one of the greatest contributing factors to the obesity and diabetes epidemics of the 21st century, and disproportionately affects vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Evidence from across the United States link overconsumption of sugary beverages — which include all beverages with added sugar, such as soda, fruit drinks and sports drinks— to the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dental caries among children and adolescents. In addition, it is widely agreed that reducing consumption of sugary beverages may help improve health by decreasing the risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity and other negative health consequences.

Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative (BANPAC) partnerships to address the health impacts of sugary beverages are guided by the following core principles:

  1. Promote health equity by prioritizing interventions in disadvantaged communities.
  2. Focus on policy, systems and environmental change strategies.

Tackling overconsumption of sugary beverages requires promotion of safe drinking water and comprehensive policy, systems and environmental (PSE) changes. BANPAC works with a range of stakeholders in counties and cities, water agencies such as the East Bay Municipality and Utilities Department (EBMUD), and community-based organizations to reduce consumption of sugary beverages and increase tap water consumption across the Bay Area. BANPAC’s membership includes four Bay Area cities that currently levy a tax on the distribution of sugary beverages – Berkeley (2014), Oakland (2016), Albany (2016), and San Francisco (2016).

BANPAC has promoted healthy beverages for a number of years.  Our work started with the Soda Free Summer (SFS) campaign, conducted during summer 2008, that encouraged Bay Area residents to “rethink their drink” and reduce or eliminate drinking sweetened beverages, which are associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Building on a successful pilot campaign implemented in Alameda County during the previous summer, BANPAC involved more than 100 organizations in expanding the 2008 campaign to all six San Francisco Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

Since 2012, the healthy beverage work expanded to include a focus on promoting healthy beverage policies. Officially titled “Pledge the Practice! Pass the Policy!” the BANPAC campaign supported organizations to reduce or eliminate sugary beverages in their facilities so that Bay Area residents—youth and adults—are not faced with unhealthy beverages in the workplace, in after-school youth and sports programs, and elsewhere throughout their communities. BANPAC and its partners have worked with more than 130 organizations to pass healthy beverage policies that reduce access to sugary beverages and increase access to healthy beverages (water, milk, unsweetened coffee and tea, 100% juice drinks). These policies have impacted Bay Area residents at youth-serving and community-based organizations, worksites, health care settings, municipalities and faith-based communities.

In 2016, BANPAC adopted a Sugary Drink Policy Platform that endorses efforts across the Spectrum of Prevention to decrease the adverse effects of sugary drink consumption to improve health and health equity outcomes as detailed below.

Policy Priorities

  1. Implement a sustainable funding stream to mitigate the health impacts from overconsumption of sugary beverages.
  2. Increase awareness of health harms from overconsumption of sugary beverages.
  3. Restrict use of local, state, or federal dollars on the purchase of sugary beverages.
  4. Make the healthy choice the default choice.
  5. Create healthy retail environments.
  6. Promote equitable access to affordable, clean, safe drinking water.
  7. Eliminate sugary drink marketing and advertising to children.
  8. Limit access to sugary beverages for children.

Guiding Principles BANPAC’s efforts to address the health impacts of sugary beverages will be guided by the following core principles:

  1. Promote health equity by prioritizing disadvantaged communities, with a focus on reaching all BANPAC counties.
  2. Focus on policy, systems and environmental change.
  3. Empower community-based action, coalition-building, and leadership engagement.
  4. Support evidence-based prevention strategies.
  5. Provide space for innovation, accompanied by evaluation.

Related Resources

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