Disappointed but undaunted. It would be easy to languish in the loss of a hard-fought effort to pass a sugary drink tax in Santa Fe. But this loss will become a distant memory as more and more cities and states continue to pass this policy. The negative impacts of added sugars on health and wellness are not going away. We are steadily reminded of the urgency to address the real public health impacts of sugary drinks. For example, a study released in April found that:
“Sugary drinks accounted for 7.4 percent of all cardiometabolic deaths, and higher percentages of coronary heart disease and diabetes deaths (10.8 and 14.8 percent, respectively.)… Sugary drinks accounted for more deaths than any other dietary factor among adults less than 44 years old. Sugary drinks also accounted for almost twice as many deaths among blacks (12.6 percent, the leading factor) compared to whites (6.4 percent).”
Over the last few weeks we have been consulting with allies on the ground in Santa Fe who provided firsthand accounts and insights about the factors that were likely influential to the outcome of the vote. Motivated by the reality of the public health impacts of sugary drinks and supported by science, we will use what we learn from Santa Fe to combat industry attempts to sell unhealthy sugary drinks at the expense of public health in pursuit of the almighty dollar.