Is a Soda Tax the Answer?
The question of health and wellbeing is not simply a lifestyle choice, it has a very real and measurable impact on our lives as a whole. It impacts the workplace environment, employee wellbeing, and ultimately our society.
Hint was founded as a company with very clear purpose to repair an industry I view as really broken. We are fighting against corporations that are so focused on profits that they are killing people by encouraging them to eat sugar and be addicted to sweets. Hint is on a mission to get this information out there and change the conversation around health and wellbeing.
These big companies are directly connected to the public health of our nation. Since 1990, the percentage of obese, adult Americans have been climbing at a shocking rate, from 11.9% in 1990 to 29.6% of our population in 2015. Clearly something MUST change, Americans must be better equipped to live a healthy lifestyle. (SOURCE: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/ALL/Obesity)
Beyond the health issues at hand, healthier employees create a more productive work environment. They take less sick or vacation days due to illness. It makes sense, it even sounds like a piece of common knowledge. So why aren’t more people paying attention to their employees’ health? Why aren’t we paying more attention to AMERICA’s health?
Why has a proposed answer to this issue, the soda tax, been so controversial?
Historically the soda tax has failed, its biggest opposition being those who believe it will impend upon their personal choice and freedoms. Perhaps Mayor Kenney has the answer, reframing the tax as one that will not only benefit Americans’ physical health, but also their mental health and well-being.
Let’s help Americans make better decisions, and as Philadelphia’s Mayor Kenney proposes, funnel the monies gained from a soda tax into public health projects, like renovations of public libraries and parks. As Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times says, “this soda tax isn’t for the nanny state; it’s for the needy state.”
OR, don’t tax at all.