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Advocating for Soda Taxes: How Oral Health Professionals Fit In

2016 | California Dental Association Journal

Recent analysis by PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) explored how soda tax debates are characterized in the news, and revealed that oral health professionals seldom appear. By elevating their expert voices, oral health practitioners can contribute new and salient arguments for soda taxes to the public discourse and help advance public policy that improves oral health outcomes.

In this journal article for the California Dental Association, BMSG proposes media advocacy strategies that oral health professionals can use to increase their visibility in the news to make the case for soda taxes.

Read the article.

Dentists and other oral health professionals can take the lead in making the case for soda taxes and framing overconsumption of sugar as a significant public health and health equity issue with oral health consequences. Too often, however, their voices are absent from the dialogue about these policy strategies. News coverage, which sets and reflects the public debate about public policy, offers a window through which we can understand that dialogue.

Based on recent analysis of how soda tax debates were portrayed in news coverage—and specifically, how oral health and oral health professionals appeared—the article identifies possible strategies for the oral health community to support soda tax efforts, particularly using media. advocacy.

By raising their voices, dentists, hygienists and other oral health experts can contribute new arguments in favor of soda taxes to the public dialogue and help advance public health policy to improve oral health outcomes.


Alisha Somji, Laura Nixon, Leeza Arbatman, Pamela Mejia, Alysha Aziz; Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, Lori Dorfman

Produced through PHI's:

Berkeley Media Studies Group