The Lab’s mission is to identify and evaluate policies and interventions that promote healthy eating habits and prevent nutrition-related chronic diseases. PEACH strives to help create a just and equitable food system where those with the fewest resources and opportunities have the same chance to live a long, healthy life as those with the most. The team works with policymakers and influencers to ask important, creative, and timely research questions that provide policymakers and institutions with science-based guidance.
In fiscal year 2023, one of the Lab’s studies found that the Philadelphia sweetened beverage tax was associated with reductions in dental caries among Medicaid patients. This is one of the first studies demonstrating that such taxes can improve health among groups with lower income. In an effort to disseminate their work on beverage taxes more broadly, Drs. Roberto and Laura Gibson co-authored an opinion piece making the case that sweetened beverage taxes are a much needed public health policy that can reduce health disparities in diet-related diseases and lead to cost savings among lower income groups. The lab has also generated multiple studies to directly inform international policy on sugary drink warning labels, national policy on sugar warnings and disclosure requirements for fruit drinks, and a new policy to require restaurants to place added sugar warnings on menus. The lab has also advanced the science of portion size interventions and interventions that incentivize the purchase of fruits and vegetables among consumers with low-income. The Lab has also worked closely with the City of Philadelphia to study the impacts of water insecurity to inform local policy solutions to address it. Drs. Roberto and Gibson co-authored an opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for the City to stop shutting off water access for households that cannot afford to pay. In recognition of Dr. Roberto’s commitment to mentoring scholars in food and nutrition policy research, she was also honored this year with the Thomas A. Wadden Mentoring Award from the Obesity Society.