Healthy Beverage Choice Act of 2020: Exploring Washington D.C.'s Proposed Soda Tax
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Prior research has shown that the obesity rate in Washington D.C. has grown substantially over the past forty years. Furthermore, strong correlations have been shown to exist between obesity and diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. In Washington D.C., projections show that if left unchecked the growth rates of these diseases will grow by an average of 40%, over the next ten years. Additional research has also shown that that the district’s lowest income resides both consume sugary beverages at a rate much higher than the rest of the district and suffer from these diseases at a disproportional rate. This capstone reviews the potential impact that placing an excise tax on sugary beverages will have on reducing consumption and generating revue in the district. It looks at case studies of soda taxes that have been enacted in Berkeley, California, Seattle, Washington, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In doing so, it concludes that introducing a 2% tax on sugary beverages, via the Healthy Beverage Choice Act 2020 would lower consumption. It also looks to these case studies to show that the bill is politically feasible. This capstone also evaluates case studies of the excise taxes that have been placed on goods such as tobacco and alcohol, to evaluate the potential that this measure has for improving public health outcomes. It concludes that the proposal does have the potential to have lasting, positive impacts on public health.