Higher soda tax may reduce obesity, diabetes risk

In recent years, some researchers have connected increasing consumption of soda to the rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Currently, some lawmakers are looking at raising taxes on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages as a way to curb consumption. A new study has found that there may be some benefit to this.

Reporting in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a team of researchers from Duke University said that raising taxes to anywhere from 20 to 40 percent on sodas could not only raise billions of dollars in extra revenue, it could also improve the health of millions of people.

The team looked at data of consumers’ shopping habits and applied a statistical model to determine how price increases would affect what shoppers buy. They found that taxes of around 40 percent would result in a reduction of caloric intake from soda that would be the equivalent of 1.3 pounds per person per year.



Additionally, they found that the higher tax rates would have the greatest effect on low-income individuals who may not be able to afford higher prices. This demographic has disproportionately high rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes.



"Although small, given the rising trend in obesity rates, especially among youth, any strategy that shows even modest weight loss should be considered," said Eric Finkelstein, who led the study.
 
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