Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Small soda taxes insufficient to curb consumption among children, study finds

Date:
April 1, 2010
Source:
RAND Corporation
Summary:
Small sales taxes on soft drinks in the range currently in force in some states are insufficient to reduce consumption of soda or curb obesity among children, according to a new study. But the small taxes do seem to have an impact on groups at-risk for obesity -- those who were heavier, children from low-income families, African-American children and those who watched a lot of television.

Small sales taxes on soft drinks in the range currently in force in some states are insufficient to reduce consumption of soda or curb obesity among children, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Such small taxes may reduce consumption in some subgroups such as children at greater risk for obesity, but reducing consumption for all children would require larger taxes, according to the study published by the journal Health Affairs.

"If the goal is to noticeably reduce soda consumption among children, then it would have to be a very substantial tax" said Roland Sturm, the study's lead author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "A small sales tax on soda does not appear to lead to a noticeable drop in consumption, led alone reduction in obesity."

Taxes on soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages have been proposed as part of many anti-obesity efforts, with the goal being to discourage consumption of the high-calorie drinks in order to curb excess weight gain.

Researchers estimated the potential effect of soft drink taxes on children's consumption and weight by examining differences in existing sales taxes on soft drinks between states. Details about state soda taxes were compared to information about weight and soda consumption among 7,300 children enrolled in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which has been gathering information about a national group of children for many years.

Children studied reported drinking an average of six sodas per week, but there was wide variation among the group. Fifteen percent reported drinking no sodas in the prior week, while 10 percent consumed two or more sodas per day. The amount of soda purchased at school was small.

The analysis could find no significant link between the consumption of soda or weight gain among children and differential taxes on sodas versus other foods. Existing differential taxes (taxes that are imposed on sodas and not other food items sold in grocery stores) are small, averaging 3.5 percent and none are larger than 7 percent.

The higher sales tax on soda in some states did seem to reduce soda consumption and curb weight gain among children at higher risk for obesity -- those who were heavier, children from low-income families, African-American children and those who watched a lot of television. Children in all these groups drank more soft drinks than children in general.

The impact was more pronounced for children from these groups who had access to soft drinks at school. Price effects may be stronger in school settings where cafeterias or vending machines round prices up, although there are alternative explanations, according to the study.

The fact that small sales taxes have no strong effect on consumption should not be surprising and the much larger soda taxes recently proposed in several areas are likely to have a much larger effect, Sturm said. An 18 percent soda tax proposed and then dropped from New York's Executive Budget last year, for example, could help prevent excessive weight gain between third and fifth grades by 20 percent.

In order for soda taxes to be most effective, researchers say they should be structured as an excise tax that would increase the shelf price of the product rather than a sales tax collected at the cash register. The latter may often not be clearly linked to the purchase of soda. One such approach to creating an excise tax would be to levy a tax on the sugar content of soda drinks.

"Soda taxes do have the potential to help reduce children's consumption of empty calories and have an impact on obesity, but both their size and how they are structured are key to whether they create measurable impact," Sturm said.

Support for the study was provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Bridging the Gap's Impact Teen project.

Other authors of the study are Lisa M. Powell, Jamie F. Chriqui and Frank J. Chaloupka of the University of Illinois, Chicago.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RAND Corporation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Roland Sturm, Lisa M. Powell, Jamie F. Chriqui, and Frank J. Chaloupka. Soda Taxes, Soft Drink Consumption, And Children%u2019s Body Mass Index. Health Affairs, 2010; DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0061

Cite This Page:

RAND Corporation. "Small soda taxes insufficient to curb consumption among children, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401085348.htm>.
RAND Corporation. (2010, April 1). Small soda taxes insufficient to curb consumption among children, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401085348.htm
RAND Corporation. "Small soda taxes insufficient to curb consumption among children, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401085348.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins