Sales of sugary drinks dropped in Howard County, Md. between 2013 and 2015.

Sales of sugary drinks dropped in Howard County, Md. between 2013 and 2015.

A recent study revealed that soda sales in Howard County, Md. decreased 20 percent between 2012 and 2015, likely due to an initiative known as “Howard County Unsweetened.” The multi-pronged campaign included advertisements encouraging children to choose water over sugary drinks and focused on public policy solutions, like a 2015 bill that required nutritional guidelines for government vending machines. Those behind the campaign say excess sugar consumption and obesity are some of the county’s biggest public health problems, but others say people should be able to make their own decisions about what to eat without government interference. Kojo explores the reported success of “Howard County Unsweetened,” and how other localities in the region and country are approaching the same public health challenge.


  • Baylen Linnekin Food Lawyer; Adjunct Professor, George Mason University Law School; Author, Biting the Hands That Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable; @baylenlinnekin
  • Nikki Highsmith Vernick President & CEO, Horizon Foundation; @HoCoUnsweetened, @thehorizonfound

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