A Policy And Education Campaign Leads To 20% Decrease in Soda Purchases!


Share On Social!

The Horizon Foundation worked together with local community groups including the local health department, People Acting Together in Howard (a faith community organization) and the African American Community Roundtable to create a multi-faceted policy change campaign in Howard County Maryland (6.5% Latino) to help reduce the high consumption and purchases of sugary drinks by consumers.

The campaign called, “Howard County Unsweetened”, worked to pass public policy measures that increased the public’s awareness about the dangers of consuming sugary drinks.

Sugary drinks have been linked to various health risks including higher risks of diabetes, heart attacks, tooth decay, and obesity. However, many people still include sugary drinks in their diets, in the forms of sweet teas, coffee with added sugars, juices, and flavored drinks.

In fact, studies show Latino kids ages 0-5 years old, consume more sugary drinks than their peers.

To help decrease sugary drink consumption the Howard County Unsweetened campaign worked with local school systems, childcare centers, government property and local organizations to decrease sugary drink consumption.

Social marketing including TV ads, social media, and online ads as well as direct consumer education and healthcare professional training also helped educate the community.

After using objective retail sales data to measure the effectiveness of the community-led sugary drink campaign, the study found that residents reduced the purchase of sugary drinks by nearly 20%, sales of fruit-flavored beverages with added sugars dropped to 15 % and 100% fruit juice purchases fell to 15%.

Glenn Schneider, Chief Program Officer of the Horizon Foundation explained, “We are thrilled about our current progress and have much hope for the future.”

Schneider also reported that policy change was a key lever in helping to create the change and local media coverage has helped announce the successful results.

The policy successes include:

  • A new wellness policy in local school system’s that eliminate sugary drinks in student accessible vending machines and at school-day functions/events. The Rudd Center ranked their wellness policy as one of the best in the country.
  • Enacting a 2014 law that prohibits licensed childcare centers from serving sugary drinks to children (working together with Sugar Free Kids Maryland).
  • Enacting a 2015 law that makes healthier food and drinks more widely available on local government property and in children’s programming.
  • Getting 50 local community organizations to improve food and drink choices offered at meetings and in vending machines.
Results from the peer-reviewed journal will be released and updated on the study. The study was funded by the Horizon Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Rudd Foundation.
To learn more about the results of the study, visit the AHA site here.


By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latino kids have had a sugary drink by age 2 (vs. 45% of white kids)

Share your thoughts