American Indian

A Partnership Between Researchers and the Navajo Nation to Study a Junk Food Tax

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Co-Authored By
Regina Eddie, Ph.D., Northern Arizona University School of Nursing
Hendrik “Dirk” de Heer, Ph.D., Department of Health Sciences, Northern Arizona University
Del Yazzie, M.P.H., Navajo Epidemiology Center

Eight years ago, the Navajo Nation enacted the first junk food tax within the United States and the first in any sovereign tribal nation in the world. The Healthy Diné Nation Act (HDNA) of 2014 created a 2% tax on foods and beverages that had little to no nutritional value. A companion piece of legislation removed the usual sales tax (then 5%, now 6%) for healthy foods, including water, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. The revenue from the unhealthy food tax is designated for local wellness projects in the 110 local communities that make up the Navajo Nation.

Because they are sovereign nations, tribal nations are uniquely able to implement policies aimed at improving public health that may be difficult to implement in other places. Through partnerships with researchers at academic institutions, tribal nations can also measure the effects of these policies and share that information widely. Continue reading “A Partnership Between Researchers and the Navajo Nation to Study a Junk Food Tax”

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