A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) report on Mexico’s sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax has concluded that “strong advocacy work, scientific evidence, and knowledge of the political context can be important facilitators to policy change that promotes obesity prevention and control.” The case study highlights the strategies used by civil society organizations, public interest lobbyists, health and government officials, and other SSB-tax proponents to (i) build coalitions, (ii) persuade legislators to support the initiative, (iii) generate media attention, and (iv) leverage the perspectives of national and international experts. In particular, it notes that successful advocacy campaigns must “understand the political context to capitalize on windows of opportunity.”

“Overall, it is essential that policy proponents know the political context—the system’s structure and the needs of political actors—to act on opportunities that could promote public health goals within broader government pursuits and reforms,” notes the report. “Regardless of the underlying rationale for the tax in Mexico, advocates were able to get it passed in part because they were aware of the planned political agenda for fiscal reform and they were able to use the government’s public presentation of a health rationale to support their primary argument for the tax—to reduce obesity and diabetes.”