California Healthline Daily Edition

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Poll: Most Calif. Voters Support Soda Tax To Boost Students’ Health

Sixty-eight percent of voters said they would support a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages if the revenue boosted school nutrition and physical activity programs, according to a new Field Poll, KQED's "State of Health" reports.

However, only 40% of voters said they would support the tax without being told by pollsters that the revenue would benefit student health initiatives, according to findings (Aliferis, "State of Health," KQED, 2/14).

The poll -- conducted on behalf of the California Endowment -- surveyed 1,184 registered California voters by telephone in October 2012 (Palmer/Diaz, Contra Costa Times, 2/14).

Poll Results

According to the poll, 75% of respondents said that regularly drinking sugar-sweetened sodas increases the chance of individuals becoming overweight, while 42% said the same for sugar-sweetened energy drinks and 26% said the same for sugar-sweetened sports drinks.

The poll also found that:

  • 85% of respondents said it is important to provide clean, fresh drinking water in schools at no cost to the students, while 74% said the same of parks and playgrounds; and
  • 75% of respondents said they support limiting the types of unhealthy food and drinks provided in child care centers, preschools and nurseries (MacVean, Los Angeles Times, 2/14).


Anthony Iton -- senior vice president of healthy communities with the California Endowment -- said, "People get it -- they get the tie between obesity and soda" (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/13).

Robert Ross -- president of the endowment -- said, "These findings confirm that widespread support exists for policies that combat obesity, including significant support for a tax on junk drinks to help finance school nutrition and physical activity programs."

He added that "[s]upport for these efforts is even greater in communities that carry the greatest burden of illness and costs from obesity-related conditions" (Los Angeles Times, 2/14). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.