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Sugar-sweetened beverage tax could reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes in India

Date:
January 7, 2014
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
A sugar-sweetened beverage tax could help mitigate the rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes rates in India among both urban and rural populations, according to a new study.

A sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax could help mitigate the rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes rates in India among both urban and rural populations, according to a study published this week in PLOS Medicine. Sanjay Basu and colleagues, from Stanford University, USA, estimated that a 20% SSB tax across India could avert 11.2 million cases of overweight/obesity and 400,000 cases of type 2 diabetes between 2014 and 2023, based on the current rate of increases in SSB sales. If SSB sales were to increase more steeply than the current rate, as predicted by drinks industry marketing models, the researchers estimate that the tax would avert 15.8 million cases of overweight/obesity and 600,000 cases of diabetes.

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The researchers combined data on how price changes affect the demand for SSBs with historical data on SSB sales trends, BMIs, and new cases of diabetes, to estimate the effect that a 20% SSB tax would have on energy consumption, the prevalence of overweight/obesity, and the number of new cases (incidence) of diabetes among Indian subpopulations. The researchers observed that the largest relative effect of the SSB tax was likely to be among young men in rural areas.

Like all studies that use mathematical models to calculate outcomes, the numbers here are only estimates and dependent on the underlying assumptions (for example, that future consumer behaviour will reflect historical data) and the validity of the input data (for example, that consumers report SSB consumption accurately).

Nonetheless, acknowledging that the numbers are not exact predictions, the authors conclude that "Sustained SSB taxation at a high tax rate could mitigate rising obesity and type 2 diabetes in India among both urban and rural subpopulations."

They continue: "Future research should replicate the findings observed here in other rapidly developing middle-income countries where SSB consumption is increasing at a rapid rate."

In a linked Perspective, Tony Blakely and colleagues discuss the real-world implications of this type of mathematical modeling study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sanjay Basu, Sukumar Vellakkal, Sutapa Agrawal, David Stuckler, Barry Popkin, Shah Ebrahim. Averting Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in India through Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxation: An Economic-Epidemiologic Modeling Study. PLoS Medicine, 2014; 11 (1): e1001582 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001582

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Sugar-sweetened beverage tax could reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes in India." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107215347.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2014, January 7). Sugar-sweetened beverage tax could reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes in India. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107215347.htm
Public Library of Science. "Sugar-sweetened beverage tax could reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes in India." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107215347.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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