A tax on sweetened soft drinks could be an effective weapon in the war against obesity, generating weight losses of up to 3.64 kilograms as individuals reduce their consumption.
Researchers from Monash University, Imperial College London and University of York and Lancaster University, England have estimated the extent to which drinking habits would change if beverages such as carbonated non-diet soft drinks; cordials and fruit drinks were taxed.
Lead author Dr Anurag Sharma, of the Centre for Health Economics at Monash University, said such a tax could have important policy and welfare implications.
“Many nutrition experts think that consumption of sweetened beverages may be the single largest driver of the obesity epidemic,” Dr Sharma said.
“Taxes on unhealthy foods are attractive because they not only generate tax revenue that can be used for public health care, they also promise health benefits for individuals.”
Soft-drink taxes already apply in some countries, and many US states tax carbonated drinks at an average rate of 3.5 per cent.
A more substantial tax would be needed to reduce consumption rates, Dr Sharma said. The researchers compared the effects of a 20 per cent sales tax and a 20 cents per litre volumetric tax, assessing the impact on all income groups.
Although both taxes would be regressive, representing a greater proportion of lower incomes than higher ones, the proposed rates would keep this effect mild, Dr Sharma said.
A 20 per cent sales tax would raise annual costs per person by about $ 15 to $ 17. But in weight-loss terms, average consumption would drop by more than 10,000 kilojoules a quarter, with about one third of a kilo coming off on the scales. Those who had been heavier consumers would lose more — between 1 and 2 kilos.
“In absolute terms, the difference in tax over a year can be considered negligible, but the weight change could be significant, making these changes very cost-effective,” Dr Sharma said.
The effect would be even more striking if a 20 cents per litre volumetric tax were applied. While still imposing a relatively low tax burden, it could lead to weight reductions of up to 3.64 kilograms in middle-income heavy consumers of sweetened beverages.
This was chiefly because although a sales tax would have a bigger effect on the price of single bottles, a volumetric tax meant those buying large quantities or discounted multipacks would face much steeper price increases.
Adds 5+ hours of ride time to iPhone batteries.IPX-5 certified – water and shock resistantClear indication of power level with LED indicator lightsUSB connection for re-chargingeasily “piggy backs” with iPhone caseFeatures 2.3 AmpHoursMicroUSB connection for use with Wahoo Bike CasesUnit of Sale: Each
List Price: $ 59.99
Price: $ 59.99
Does your child get enough exercise? You can get your children more active with these 5 fun parenting tips.
In just four steps, you can improve your health for the better and this article will show you how. The steps below are bite-sized nuggets of health information you can actually use to live a healthy life. Here we go… Nutritional supplements are the first step As far as I’m concerned, they are very important […]
Several food and nutrition trends were in the spotlight this year, including the continued rise of plant-based diets, non-dairy ice creams and superfoods that are blasts from the past — legumes, apples and cabbage. It can be easy to experience nutrition whiplash in the New Year, but don’t be a victim. Get a jump-start on […]
If you want to lose weight, you’re not alone. More than half of Americans desire to shed pounds, according to Gallup. This goal inspires people to take action in many ways, from increasing exercise to modifying meals. One thing many people do is skip breakfast in order to lower calorie intake. While this may seem […]