May 8, 2019

Horizon Foundation Executives Author Chapter on Fighting Big Soda

A new book published by Oxford University Press features a chapter on the Horizon Foundation’s work with partners to fight the excessive consumption of sugary drinks and improve health.

The Foundation’s President and CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick and Chief Program Officer Glenn Schneider wrote the chapter “Fighting Big Soda at the Local Level” in The Practical Playbook ll: Building Multisector Partnerships That Work published by the de Beaumont Foundation, Duke Community and Family Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The book serves as a guide to “the secret sauce of improving public and population health,” according to the publisher. Nontraditional collaborations have produced some of the most sweeping, health-improving results in recent memory. But whether it’s public/private, cross-discipline, or interagency, the formula for identifying these partnerships — not to mention making them work — remains very much in progress.

The Practical Playbook II is the first resource to elucidate what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to collaborating for change in and around health. It brings together voices of experience and authority to answer this topic’s most challenging questions and provide guideposts for applying what they’ve learned to today’s thorniest problems.

In the book, Highsmith Vernick and Schneider detail the Horizon Foundation’s work to reduce sugary drink consumption in Howard County, Maryland, including the formation of a diverse coalition of community partners, the launch of a comprehensive marketing and media campaign, advocating for local and state policy changes and leveraging data to measure success.

“Big Soda is the new tobacco,” they write. “Research has identified products made by multibillion dollar companies that are harmful to health, especially for children. Communities across the United States that are advancing the health of children and families are going up against beverage companies with vastly more marketing prowess, money, and lobbying power. But public health advocates are taking public policy plays from the successful anti-tobacco playbook, updating them for the 21st-century social media environment, and winning.”