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Taxation as a Public Health Intervention: Assessing Support for a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Among Washington, D.C. Residents

Bontrager, Annessa L. (2020) Taxation as a Public Health Intervention: Assessing Support for a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Among Washington, D.C. Residents. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is strongly linked to obesity, along with a myriad of other negative health consequences. In order to mitigate the obesity epidemic and the negative health consequences associated with it, seven U.S. jurisdictions levy an excise tax on SSBs. In October 2019, legislation was introduced to the Washington, D.C. City Council that would levy a 1.5 cent per ounce excise tax on SSBs. The purpose of this needs assessment was to evaluate the current understanding, beliefs, and practices regarding SSBs and excise SSB taxation among adult residents of Washington, D.C. Participants (n=337) were recruited via email and social media through targeted online outreach facilitated by specific community-based organizations and listservs. Participants voluntarily completed a 10-minute online survey adapted from previous studies. Descriptive statistics were calculated to determine means, standard deviations, and frequencies to summarize participant demographics, knowledge of SSBs, consumption and purchase behavior, perceived behavior change, and the level of support for an excise SSB tax. Data showed that the majority of participants had a general understanding that SSBs negatively affected an individual’s health and view SSBs as being very unhealthy. In addition, there was a very high level of support for an excise SSB tax in Washington, D.C. Along with that support, participants also reported that as the excise SSB tax increased, their consumption of taxed sugary drinks would decrease. Recommendations for future research opportunities would be to conduct a larger study with equal representation across all wards, incorporate focus groups, and validate the study. Findings from this study have implications at the individual, organization, and government level.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bontrager, Annessa L.bontrager.annessa@gmail.comalb403
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRoss,
Committee MemberDavis,
Committee MemberBraund,
Date: 2 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 July 2020
Approval Date: 2 September 2020
Submission Date: 10 August 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 77
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: policy, sugary drink, excise tax
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 14:42
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2020 14:42


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