Berkeley Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Program Evaluation

Dates: 2017

State: California

Client(s): City of Berkeley

Service: Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Healthy Communities, State and Local Public Health

Website: http://www.healthyberkeley.com/


Two out of three adults and one out of three children in the United States are overweight or obese, and half of all African American and Latino children will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. The increased consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) has contributed to the rise in obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other related health issues. Young children are exposed to a high number of marketing and advertising efforts around SSBs daily. Beverage companies spend substantial amounts of money on marketing SSBs to children between the ages of 2-17 years old.

In an effort to decrease the harmful health impacts of sugar-sweetened beverages in children, youth, and adults in Berkeley, the City of Berkeley implemented Measure D, a soda tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Since passed in 2013, $3 million in revenue generated by Berkeley’s soda tax has been allocated to community and school-based programs through the Healthy Berkeley initiative. Funded programs work to reducing access to sugar sweetened beverages, improving access to water, and preventing conditions related to consumption of sugary drinks, including diabetes, dental caries, obesity, and heart disease. The City of Berkeley’s Sugar Sweetened Beverage Product Panel of Experts (SSBPPE) Commission was responsible for selecting funded programs. In total, five community programs were selected in addition to funding granted to the Berkeley Unified School District.

Recognizing the need for an evaluation to assess funded program activities, the City of Berkeley contracted with JSI to implement an evaluation aimed at providing meaningful information to the SSBPPE Commission. The evaluation is focused on “telling the story” of the funded programs and providing the Commission can use to reflect on funded programs and inform future planning. Evaluation activities include focus groups, key informant interviews, and an overall review of the program. The evaluation’s findings will describe program implementation in terms of activities accomplished, audiences reached, and how they were reached. In addition, the evaluation will explore the ways in which capacity was built within the funded organizations and among their participants receiving a higher “intensity” of education. This approach will help to capture changes that support individual-level outcomes and to lift up “lessons learned” that can inform future Healthy Berkeley activities. Learn more about Healthy Berkeley at: www.healthyberkeley.com