Public Attitudes and Support for a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax in America's Heartland
BACKGROUND: Policy and environmental strategies are part of a comprehensive approach to obesity prevention. We investigated the association between public attitudes about how the environment influences health and support for a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax in Kansas.
METHOD: We collected data via a 2014 representative dual-frame (cellular and landline) telephone survey of 2,203 adult Kansans regarding healthy eating policy support and beliefs about obesity causes and solutions.
RESULTS: A significant proportion of Kansas adults (40%) support an SSB tax. Support was significantly stronger among females, young people, and liberals. Causal and responsibility attributions of obesity were significantly associated with policy support. Individuals who attribute more responsibility for the solution to the obesity epidemic to environmental factors were more likely to support a tax, regardless of their political affiliation.
CONCLUSIONS: Messaging that focuses on the role of the environment in creating opportunities for health may be useful in framing discussions around SSB taxes.