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Soda’s, sweet teas, energy drinks, and sugary beverages of all types have been the uproar of news lately as many cities across the nation are considering sugary beverage taxes to reduce high rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity and other related diseases.
Now lawmakers in various states including Tennesse, Florida, and Michigan are considering a ban on soda for all purchasers who want to use food stamps or state-issued Bridge Electronic Bank Transfer (EBT) cards. Even Arkansas introduced a similar bill last year, where EBT users would not be allowed to purchase foods that have “sufficient nutritional value”. The bill was passed but is now waiting for the votes from the Senate, according to local 5 News online.
These bans would not allow any EBT card user from being able to purchase sodas with the card, only foods, and beverages approved under the state’s food assistance programs and the bill would need a waiver from the USDA.
Latino communities often lack access to healthier foods in stores, where marketing and corner stores offer more soda, candy, and junk food than fresh fruits and vegetables, research shows.
Considering laws that improve the health of SNAP or EBT users must also consider the built environment where access to healthier food is vital and plenty of options are offered.
Marketing of healthier foods also plays a vital part of increasing interest around healthier eating. Latinos are also advertised sugary beverages and candies more than their white peers. In fact, Latino preschoolers saw 23% more sugary drink ads on Spanish-language TV in 2013 than 2010.
Decreasing access to unhealthy foods and beverages are vital in decreasing health disparities related to diet, but healthier environments and healthier food and beverage options also must be in place in order to make a lasting change.
To learn more about how unhealthy advertising, foods, and beverages can impact Latino communities, click here.