Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Soft-drink tax worth its weight in lost kilos

Date:
June 17, 2014
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
A tax on sweetened soft drinks could be an effective weapon in the war against obesity, generating weight losses of up to 3.64 kilograms as individuals reduce their consumption. "Taxes on unhealthy foods are attractive because they not only generate tax revenue that can be used for public health care, they also promise health benefits for individuals," researchers say.

A tax on sweetened soft drinks could be an effective weapon in the war against obesity, generating weight losses of up to 3.64 kilograms as individuals reduce their consumption.

Researchers from Monash University, Imperial College London and University of York and Lancaster University, England have estimated the extent to which drinking habits would change if beverages such as carbonated non-diet soft drinks; cordials and fruit drinks were taxed.

Lead author Dr Anurag Sharma, of the Centre for Health Economics at Monash University, said such a tax could have important policy and welfare implications.

"Many nutrition experts think that consumption of sweetened beverages may be the single largest driver of the obesity epidemic," Dr Sharma said.

"Taxes on unhealthy foods are attractive because they not only generate tax revenue that can be used for public health care, they also promise health benefits for individuals."

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

A more substantial tax would be needed to reduce consumption rates, Dr Sharma said. The researchers compared the effects of a 20 per cent sales tax and a 20 cents per litre volumetric tax, assessing the impact on all income groups.

Although both taxes would be regressive, representing a greater proportion of lower incomes than higher ones, the proposed rates would keep this effect mild, Dr Sharma said.

A 20 per cent sales tax would raise annual costs per person by about $15 to $17. But in weight-loss terms, average consumption would drop by more than 10,000 kilojoules a quarter, with about one third of a kilo coming off on the scales. Those who had been heavier consumers would lose more -- between 1 and 2 kilos.

"In absolute terms, the difference in tax over a year can be considered negligible, but the weight change could be significant, making these changes very cost-effective," Dr Sharma said.

The effect would be even more striking if a 20 cents per litre volumetric tax were applied. While still imposing a relatively low tax burden, it could lead to weight reductions of up to 3.64 kilograms in middle-income heavy consumers of sweetened beverages.

This was chiefly because although a sales tax would have a bigger effect on the price of single bottles, a volumetric tax meant those buying large quantities or discounted multipacks would face much steeper price increases.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Anurag Sharma, Katharina Hauck, Bruce Hollingsworth, Luigi Siciliani. THE EFFECTS OF TAXING SUGAR-SWEETENED BEVERAGES ACROSS DIFFERENT INCOME GROUPS. Health Economics, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/hec.3070

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Soft-drink tax worth its weight in lost kilos." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617094037.htm>.
Monash University. (2014, June 17). Soft-drink tax worth its weight in lost kilos. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617094037.htm
Monash University. "Soft-drink tax worth its weight in lost kilos." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617094037.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) 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:
from the past week

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