Potential Benefits of the Soda Tax PreK Education Improves as Health Risks Decline

Globe Times Potential Benfits of the Soda Tax

Photo:  Mayor Kenney and children at the Drueding Center on Lawrence Ave. celebrate the expansion of the PHLpreK program for more free quality early childhood education (PreK) in Philadelphia.  The program is funded by the Phila. Beverage Tax – with the vital added benefit of better health for City families (Photo courtesy of Phila. School District).

Mayor Jim Kenney celebrated 18 months of the program to increase enrollment and expand quality Pre-Kindergarten education in Philadelphia.   In a press release titled “PHLpreK is Growing!: Mayor Kenney sat down with students and teachers at the Drueding Center on Lawrence Avenue.   

PHLpreKis the City’s free, quality pre-K program funded by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.   Children who will be three or four years old on September 1 are eligible to enroll in the program, which will grow next year to serve 3,300 children at over 140 sites across the City.  

The Drueding Center is one of the new PHLpreK sites where families can enroll. The Mayor’s visit will include a gardening activity with students to celebrate the PHLpreK program’s growth.

The growth in quality PreK education is expected to have a major positive impact on the low reading and math progress experienced in Philadelphia schools.   Like the health benefit from reduced risks of diabetes and other overweight related illnesses, the reading and math improvements have a cumulative effect throughout childhood and onward during adult life in terms of better job prospects and community involvement. 

Families: Enroll in PreK Now!

Families can enrol children age 3 or 4 on Sept. 1 in the pre-K program on-site at PHLpreK locations. To find a participating location, visit www.phlprek.org or call 844-PHL-PREK (844-745-7735)

The massive decline in consumption of sugared sodas and other drinks may be having a wonderful health benefit as well.   Sugary drinks are major contributors to overweight, obesity, and diabetes according to many recent medical studies. 1

Currently, about 1 in every 10 Americans has developed diabetes – most of them have Type 2 diabetes which develops as children and adults grow older.   This Type 2 or “maturity-onset” is associated with overweight, poor diet, and not getting enough daily exercise. Diabetes is the 7th largest killer in the U.S., and is connected to many painful and disabling conditions like kidney disease, blood circulation problems, blindness, and amputations. 2

2001 Study indicated that African Americans were 37 percent more likely to have Type 2  diabetes as compared to other Americans.3In a recent study at Penn and other universities,4 the 1.5% Philadelphia Beverage Tax (“Soda Tax”) has reduced purchases of sugary drinks in City groceries by 51 percent since it began in January 2017.  This local decline was offset by a parallel increase in purchases at food stores in neighboring towns by almost 80 percent.

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