For years, Philadelphia has had some of the worst obesity rates in the country. However, despite efforts to encourage healthier behaviors and lifestyles, it’s been a challenge for politicians to reduce obesity levels among Philadelphians, especially considering their poor socioeconomic statuses and racial backgrounds. Studies have shown that low-income and minority populations are the most vulnerable to developing adverse health conditions.
This is why we’re so happy to see our very own Mayor Michael A. Nutter finally starting to win the battle against large soda corporations. Since his appointment to office, Mayor Nutter was an avid anti-obesity campaigner, fighting to reduce the amount of soda consumption among his people. While his soda tax proposal five years ago failed to pass, his continued efforts to raise awareness of drinking too much soda have contributed to fewer soda purchases as well as lower obesity rates.
Compared to the old days, where many Philadelphian corner stores sold sugar-loaded beverages and elementary schools even allowed soda in classrooms, this has been a huge community health improvement. Resulting from Mayor Nutter’s initiatives against soda companies, many more Philadelphians today are becoming more conscious about their beverage choices. For example, recent statistics show that more teenagers are choosing water over soda.
Other important changes have affected the same schools and stores that once promoted excessive soda consumption. If you walked into a corner store, for instance, you’d be able to buy a piece of fruit with a bottle of water as a snack. Similarly, if you visited an elementary school today, you’d learn that campuses are now banned from selling sugary beverages to children.
Events like these still only represent small steps towards improving public health, but in the end, they encourage politicians and citizens alike to strive for healthier lives. The soda industry may continue to win their fights over policy change, but we are slowly winning the battle against them to take back our good health.
For more information on this topic, you can read this New York Times article.