Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Taxing sugary beverages not a clear cut strategy to reduce obesity

Date:
July 30, 2013
Source:
RTI International
Summary:
Taxing sugary beverages may help reduce calories from these beverages in the United States, according to a joint study by researchersTaxing sugary beverages may help reduce calories from these beverages in the United States, but the health benefits may be partially offset as consumers substitute with other unhealthy foods, at RTI International, Duke University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Taxing sugary beverages may help reduce calories from these beverages in the United States, but the health benefits may be partially offset as consumers substitute with other unhealthy foods, according to a joint study by researchers at RTI International, Duke University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Related Articles


The study, published online in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, found that a half-cent per ounce increase in sugar-sweetened beverage prices, which adds up to about ten cents on a typical 20-ounce bottle of soda, could reduce total calories from the 23 foods and beverages examined under the study.

However, researchers found the reduction in sugary beverages due to a soda tax would likely lead consumers to substitute for those beverage calories by increasing their calorie, salt and fat intake from untaxed foods and beverages.

"Instituting a sugary beverage tax may be an appealing public policy option to curb obesity, but it's not as easy to use taxes to curb obesity as it is with smoking," said Chen Zhen, Ph.D., a research economist at RTI, and the paper's lead author. "Consumers can simply substitute an untaxed high calorie food for a taxed one. And as we know, reducing calories is just one of many ways to promoting healthy eating and reducing nutrition-related chronic disease."

The study also examined differences in purchase behavior between lower and higher income households. Compared to higher income families' purchases, foods and beverages purchased by lower income families tend to be higher in calories, fat and sodium content on average.

"Because lower-income families tend to buy more sugary soft drinks than higher income families, they would more readily reap the health benefits of reduced sugary beverage intake," Zhen said. "However, they would also pay more in beverage taxes, making it a regressive tax."

To conduct the study, researchers used data on household food purchases from the 2006 Nielsen Homescan panel, a large national consumer panel maintained by the Nielsen Company. Families in the panel are provided with a handheld scanner and instructed to scan the Universal Product Code (UPC) of products they purchased at retail outlets, record purchase quantities and coupons used and identify the retailer that the product was purchased from.

Obesity rates in the United States are about 36 percent for adults and 17 percent for children and adolescents. A previous RTI study found that medical costs associated with obesity are estimated at $147 billion or more per year.

The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Chen Zhen, Eric A. Finkelstein, James M. Nonnemaker, Shawn A. Karns and Jessica E. Todd. Predicting the Effects of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes on Food and Beverage Demand in a Large Demand System. Am. J. Agr. Econ., 2013 DOI: 10.1093/ajae/aat049

Cite This Page:

RTI International. "Taxing sugary beverages not a clear cut strategy to reduce obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730123106.htm>.
RTI International. (2013, July 30). Taxing sugary beverages not a clear cut strategy to reduce obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730123106.htm
RTI International. "Taxing sugary beverages not a clear cut strategy to reduce obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730123106.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hikers Rescued After Fall from Oregon Mountain

Hikers Rescued After Fall from Oregon Mountain

AP (Feb. 1, 2015) Two climbers who were hurt in a fall on Mount Hood are now being treated for their injuries. Rescue officials say they were airlifted off the mountain Saturday afternoon by an Oregon National Guard helicopter. (Feb. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Glasses Augment Reality to Help Visually Impaired

Smart Glasses Augment Reality to Help Visually Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 1, 2015) New augmented reality smart glasses developed by researchers at Oxford University can help people with visual impairments improve their vision by providing depth-based feedback, allowing users to "see" better. Joel Flynn reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Season Hitting Elderly Hard

Flu Season Hitting Elderly Hard

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 31, 2015) The CDC says this year&apos;s flu season is hitting people 65 years of age and older especially hard. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The CDC is urging people to get vaccinated for measles amid an outbreak that began at Disneyland and has now infected more than 90 people. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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