Watsonville is a major agriculture-producing city with over 50,000 residents. 80% of the residents are Latinos. Research indicates that 1 in 2 Latino children will develop diabetes in their lifetime due to the consumption of sugary drinks, and that 77 percent of 11 to 17 year old Watsonville respondents reported drinking one or more sodas per day.
TOLA fellows conducted a health survey in the City of Watsonville regarding the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. The goal was to increase awareness of the health consequences of sugary drinks and to jump-start a discussion on how Watsonville might adopt policies to become a healthier community.
In order to better understand the effects of sugar-sweetened beverages among Watsonville residents, TOLA asked respondents if they had chronic diseases in their family’s health history related to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, the types of sugar-sweetened beverages they purchased, and the frequency with which they consumed them. Most importantly, they provided facts about the effects of sugar-sweetened beverages and concluded the survey by asking if residents would be supportive of a 2 cent-per-ounce tax on the distributers of sugar-sweetened beverages.
TOLA fellows spoke to residents in both English and Spanish at grocery stores, parks, community centers, laundromats, and at their doors. Thousands of surveys were collected and an overwhelming majority of respondents were supportive of a tax on the distributors of sugary drinks. The results of the survey were presented to the Regional Diabetes Collaborative. The organization has taken charge of continuing to educate the community about diabetes and sugary sweetened beverages.