Friday 01 August, 2014

Tax soft drinks to curb obesity: Study

Published On: Wed, Jun 18th, 2014 | Obesity | By BioNews

An effective way to discourage consumption of sweetened soft drinks, which many believe is the single largest driver of the obesity epidemic, could be tax, says a study.

“Taxes on unhealthy foods are attractive because they not only generate tax revenue that can be used for public health care, but also promise health benefits for individuals,” said Anurag Sharma from Monash University of Australia.

Tax could be an effective weapon in the war against obesity, as individuals reduce their consumption, the findings showed.

Soft drink taxes already apply in some countries and many US states tax carbonated drinks at an average rate of 3.5 percent.

“A more substantial tax would be needed to reduce consumption rates,” Sharma said.

A 20 percent sales tax would raise annual costs per person by about $15 (Rs.903) to $17 (Rs.1024).

But in weight-loss terms, average consumption would drop by more than 2,388 calories a quarter.

Those who had been heavier consumers would lose more.

“While still imposing a relatively low tax burden, it could lead to weight reductions of up to 3.64 kg in middle-income heavy consumers of sweetened beverages,” Sharma noted.

The findings appeared in the journal Health Economics.

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