Dear AJPM  reader,

The role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in contributing to the obesity epidemic, especially in children, is an area of increasing scholarly interest. Research has shown that the factors contributing to SSB purchase and consumption encompass far more than just personal willpower and instead extend to the laws, policies, and marketing which may encourage greater SSB intake. Yet, disagreements remain in the public health community as to how prescriptive policies aimed at reducing SSB consumption should be as they may infringe on individual choice. Two articles in this month’s AJPM explore different aspects of the issue: 

Zhong Y, Auchincloss AH, Lee BK, Kanter GP.
  • The city of Philadelphia implemented a tax on beverages sweetened with sugar and sugar-substitutes. The authors found that within two months of tax implementation, regular soda and energy drink consumption was 40% and 64% lower, respectively, and bottled water consumption was 58% higher. 
Moran AJ, Musicus A, Gorski Findling MT, Brissette IF, Lowenfels AA, Subramanian SV, Roberto CA.
  • An analysis of store beverage promotions in three cities in New York revealed that in census tracts with high Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment, the odds of a retailer having sugar-sweetened beverage displays were 4.35 times higher during SNAP issuance days compared with non-issuance days.

We hope you enjoy these and other articles in our July issue .

Yours in prevention and health,

Matthew L. Boulton, MD, MPH

American Journal of Preventive Medicine