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California Voters Favor Soda Tax if Proceeds Support School Nutrition and Physical Activity Programs

A February 14, 2013 Field poll suggests that California voters will support a soda tax if the proceeds fund school nutrition and physical activity programs. Diverse voters were in strong support. According to the Field poll conducted on behalf of the California Endowment:

When voters statewide are initially asked their opinion of the idea of taxing the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages, more are opposed (53%) than in favor (40%). However, support increases dramatically (68% in favor vs. 29% opposed) if proceeds from the tax are used to improve school nutrition and physical activity programs. Support is especially strong among Latinos (79%), Asian Americans (73%) and African Americans (70%).

California voters continue to value the importance of physical activity in schools and support physical education programs as a way to reduce health problems. According to a 2012 Field poll, California voters are in “nearly unanimous agreement” that it is important for schools to encourage more physical activity during the school day. 

Voters in the poll also endorse a variety of public policies aimed at combating obesity within their communities. These include creating more opportunities for residents to be physically active, such as providing more funds to improve school athletic fields, physical education facilities, and playgrounds and keeping these facilities open after school and on weekends. Voters also endorse policies that encourage residents to eat more healthily, like attracting more farmers markets, produce stands and supermarkets with fresh fruits and vegetables in low income neighborhoods, as well as building more community gardens and urban farms on vacant city lands. Majorities also favor policies aimed at discouraging the consumption of unhealthy foods and drinks in schools, childcare and youth centers among children.

Click here to for recommendatons to improve physical education and healthy eating for all California students.