Taxing calories in sugary drinks could reduce obesity

18 July 2015

New research has suggested that taxing the number of calories in sugary drinks could help reduce obesity.

The high sugar content of some drinks has caused concern that they are contributing to the obesity crisis.

The study, published in Social Science & Medicine, estimates that around 1.9 billion adults are overweight, with around 600 million of these being obese. This increases their risk of  diseases such as type 2 diabetes and having a stroke.

Mexico became the first country to enforce a nationwide sugar-sweetened drink tax in January 2014 and it appears that such a move is having a positive effect. However, the new study suggests that this impact could be increased by taxing the dose of calories or sugar in a product, rather than applying a flat tax across the board.

"Taxing sugary drinks isn't a new concept, but given the immediacy of the global obesity problem, it's time we got creative with how we approach it," said author of the study Dr Evan Blecher, senior economist at the American Cancer Society.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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