Using a Health Policy Model to Develop a Change in Policy to Improve the Public’s Health
In this paper, we will utilize Longest’s policy cycle model to develop a change in policy aimed at improving the public’s health. Specifically, we will focus on the initiation of a policy to tax sugared sodas, pops, and beverages in the community. We will address each criterion by discussing the arguments that can be used to make the case for the policy, the potential arguments that opponents may raise, strategies to gain buy-in for the proposed policy, and the stakeholder groups that need to be involved in promoting the policy.
Longest’s Policy Cycle Model
Longest’s policy cycle model consists of six stages: problem identification, policy analysis, strategy development, policy enactment, policy implementation, and policy evaluation (Longest, 2016). We will use this model as a framework to structure our proposed policy.
The consumption of sugared sodas, pops, and beverages has been linked to numerous negative health outcomes, including obesity, diabetes, and dental issues (Malik et al., 2006; Nishida et al., 2010; Moynihan & Kelly, 2014). The high sugar content in these beverages contributes significantly to the current epidemic of these health problems. Therefore, the problem identified is the detrimental impact of sugared beverages on public health.
Policy analysis involves assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of potential policy options (Longest, 2016). Research has shown that implementing a tax on sugared sodas and beverages can lead to a reduction in consumption and subsequent improvements in health outcomes. For example, a study conducted in Mexico found that a 10% tax on sugary drinks resulted in a 12% reduction in sales (Colchero et al., 2016). Therefore, implementing a tax on sugared beverages is a viable policy option to address the identified problem.
To make the case for the policy, various arguments can be presented. Firstly, the revenue generated from the tax can be used to fund public health initiatives, such as programs to promote healthy eating habits and increase access to healthier food options. This argument highlights the potential benefits of the policy beyond improving health outcomes.
Secondly, evidence suggests that a tax on sugared beverages can contribute to a decrease in overall sugar consumption. This reduction in sugar intake can have a significant positive impact on obesity rates and related health issues (Colchero et al., 2016; Mozaffarian et al., 2016). By framing the policy as a preventive measure against obesity and its associated health risks, it may be easier to gain support from policymakers and the public.
On the other hand, opponents of the policy may argue that a tax on sugared beverages unfairly targets certain individuals or businesses. They may assert that it is a regressive tax that disproportionately affects low-income individuals. However, it is important to counter these arguments by emphasizing the potential health benefits that can be achieved by reducing sugar consumption and the ability of revenue generated from the tax to address health disparities.
Buy-In and Stakeholder Involvement
To gain buy-in for the proposed policy, it is important to engage various stakeholders in the process. This includes policymakers, public health professionals, healthcare providers, community organizations, and beverage industry representatives. By involving these stakeholders from the beginning, their perspectives and concerns can be addressed, thereby increasing the likelihood of support for the policy.
Policymakers can be engaged by presenting them with evidence-based data on the negative health outcomes associated with sugared beverages and the potential benefits of the tax. Public health professionals and healthcare providers can play a critical role in educating the public about the health risks of excess sugar consumption. Community organizations can help mobilize support and raise awareness among community members. Beverage industry representatives should be involved to ensure their concerns are considered, and potential strategies to mitigate any negative economic impact can be explored.
In conclusion, by utilizing Longest’s policy cycle model, we have developed a comprehensive plan for initiating a tax on sugared sodas, pops, and beverages. By presenting evidence-based arguments for the policy, addressing potential oppositions, and engaging key stakeholders, there is a greater likelihood of gaining support and successfully implementing this policy to improve the public’s health.