Editors’ note: As a social justice organization, GLIDE supports Proposition V, which would add a one-cent-per-ounce tax on beverages with added sugar to help reduce the health problems, such as diabetes, brought on by consuming too much sugar. We view this proposition as a social justice issue, as soda companies have historically targeted low-income communities, particularly communities of color, to advertise their products even though these companies are aware of the health risks brought on by excess consumption of sugar. Indeed, African American and Latino communities have a higher rate of unhealthy weight gain and obesity than white communities, and together account for nearly twice as many Americans with Type 2 diabetes. In their massive campaign against Prop V, soda companies call Prop V a “grocery tax,” a misleading term insinuating that prices will be increased on all groceries when in fact only beverages with added sugar will be taxed by the local government.
The following perspective on Prop V comes from Jan Schilling, founder of Weigh of Life—a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for East Bay families to enjoy improving their health through exercise classes, nutrition education and social support—and a proud member of GLIDE’s congregation.
One thing we can all do to curb overweight and obesity is to stop drinking soda, or reduce our consumption!! Overweight brings other health problems, such as diabetes. So eating right and exercise can reduce disease and prolong each life by years.
The nation’s first “soda tax” on sugar-sweetened beverages went into effect in Berkeley last year and appears to be working. According to a new study by Public Health students at UC Berkeley, consumption of sugary drinks—at least in some neighborhoods—is down by a whopping 20 percent.
Concerned citizens follow the tobacco tax model: Twenty to 30 years ago, cities and states added a tax to cigarettes, leading to reduced smoking by 50% or more. As a result, fewer people get lung cancer today.
The proposed tax in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany places a one-cent-per-ounce tax on soda—and is NOT a grocery tax.
And water from your tap is cheap!!
Jan Schilling, MPH, RD, has worked to help build healthier families and communities for more than 50 years. After retiring from a career as a registered dietitian, Jan founded Weigh of Life after noticing an alarming and disproportional rate of overweight and obesity—and corresponding conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure—among low-income and ethnically diverse populations. In addition to two master’s degrees, one in public health and the other in nutrition, Jan completed a credential in Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics in 2005.
Jan grew up in Nebraska, but has lived all the over the world. She spent two years in the Ivory Coast during her stint in the Peace Corps, and also worked for one year in Romania assessing nutrition across eight different orphanages. She currently makes her home in El Cerrito. In her spare time, she likes to read, attend sorority meetings, and frequent Glide Church in San Francisco each Sunday.