A health policy is an action that is undertaken to achieve specific health goals. Health policies are essential as they help in disease prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Initiating a health policy for taxing sugared beverages in the community is meant to promote healthy eating. This is because the taxes will ensure the prices of the beverages are high, limiting their use. The Longest policy cycle is a complex model that looks at defining the policy problem with clarity. The model has three phases; formulation phase, implementation phase, and policy modification phase. These phases will be effective in structuring the Policy proposed.
Longest Policy Model
The longest policy model has three phases; formulation, implementation, and policy modification (Eileen & Johnson, 2016). In the first phase of policymaking, the policymakers will set the agenda for the Policy. Currently, the plan is incremental of taxes on sugared beverages. This will include showing the importance of taxing the beverages, which include reducing the intake of sugar. It is an intervention to reduce the prevalence rate of diabetes and obesity. In agenda setting, the policy problems have to be defined, including the solutions to the problem. All the hard work for the Policy will be during the formulation phase.
The implementation phase of policymaking will involve the management of humans and other resources. The Policy of taxing sugared beverages will be evaluated in this phase to ascertain whether the implementation of the effect is aligned with the objectives (Howlett & Ramesh, 2013). The final stage of policymaking while using the longest policy model involves policy modification. This is the additional stage using this model as it allows for gathering feedback on the Policy. This will avoid revisiting the Policy later in case circumstances shift. Feedback is gathered from the public, politicians, and other stakeholders in the community. They will be able to provide feedback on whether the Policy will be effective.
The case for the Policy
Taxing sugared drinks is an effective way of reducing sugar consumption in the community. There are health benefits towards reducing sugar consumptions in the community. It states, in a report by WHO (2016) shows that sugared drinks are a significant contributor to diabetes and obesity. This is because these sugared drinks are the primary source of sugar in the diet. On average a 350ml of sugared drinks contain around 40gm of free sugars (WHO, 2016). The overconsumption of these drinks will therefore increase the likelihood of being diagnosed with obesity. There is also the risk of tooth decay due to overconsumption of these drinks. The consumption of sugared drinks also increases the risk of obesity and diabetes in children and adolescents.
Taxing sugared drinks will increase the prices of these drinks, making them too expensive for the community members. This will reduce their consumption and, in the long run, reduce the prevalence rate of diabetes and obesity. Taxing sugared drinks will also make them inaccessible to children and adolescents, reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity in adolescents and children.
Case against the Policy
Studies have shown that households with low income are the biggest consumers of sugar. They consume sugar more sugar than households with higher income. The consumption also includes sugared drinks. Therefore, taxing sugared drinks will increase the burden of those households with low incomes. They will have to spend more to access their favorite sugared drinks. The argument of obesity and diabetes can be countered. This is because diabetes is caused by a mixture of both environmental and genetic factors. In some cases, genetic factors are the biggest causes of both obesity and diabetes.
Buy-in is essential when creating change. It is a complex process that requires convincing other people who are against the proposed Policy. The first step will involve inviting collecting feedback from others. This will give the correct position of those who support the Policy and those who do not support it. Using the feedback to initiate a debate will be effective in getting buy-in. one of the most important aspects is being ready to compromise on some aspects. In the debate, laying out the Policy and its effect on health will be a good start. Use the feedback attained to ensure buy-in. Acknowledge the criticism about the Policy and use it to make the Policy even better.
There are various stakeholders involved in policymaking. The stakeholders involved will include community groups, politicians, civil society organizations, and the local government. The local government will have the expertise required in medics offering the required advice on the importance of the Policy. The stakeholders have different roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the Policy.
Policymaking is a complex process that ends with the right Policy being formulated and implemented. Increasing the taxes on sugared drinks is an essential step towards reducing diabetes and obesity in the community (WHO, 2016). The Policy will also be effective in reducing diabetes among adolescents and children.
Eileen T. O’Grady and Johnson Jean. (2016). The Advanced Practice Nursing Textbook (6th edition).
Howlett, M. & Ramesh, M. (2003). Studying Public Policy: Policy cycles and policy subsystems. Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press Canada. World Health Organization. (2016). Taxes on sugary drinks: Why do it? Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/260253/WHO-NMH-PND-16.5Rev.1-eng.pdf;jsessionid=5E6DD9A3F9C0EA0A18AB280A6C5C7E2C?sequence=1