Sugar taxes play a role in driving down consumption of unhealthy drinks

Drawing from the experience of cities and countries around the world, a New Zealand study has determined that a 10 percent tax on sugary drinks has reduced the consumption of these beverages by an average of 10 percent.

Researchers from the University of Otago studied evidence from four US cities – Cleveland (Ohio), Portland (Maine), Berkeley (California) and Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) – as well as Chile, France and Mexico to arrive at their conclusion.

The study, published in the international journal Obesity Reviews, relied on a comprehensive meta-analysis of the available data, taking into account purchasing and consumption patterns, both before and after the imposition of the tax, and the experiences of places where sugar taxes were and were not imposed.

The lead author of the study Dr Andrea Tang made the following observations when describing the results of the study.

“This new review presents compelling evidence that sugary drink taxes result in decreased sales, purchasing or dietary intake of taxed beverages. For a 10 per cent tax, sugary drink volumes declined by an average of 10 per cent.

“It shows taxes on sugary drinks are an effective tool to reduce consumption, and we know from other research that the high consumption of sugary drinks increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and dental caries.”

Australia’s Oral Health Tracker, a joint initiative of the ADA and Australian Health Policy Collaboration, speaks to the growing problem with sugar compensation with close to 50 percent of adult aged 19 years or older consuming too much sugar along with 73 percent of young people aged 14-18 years of age and 70.3 percent of children (9-13 years).

For more on the story, go to “Sugar‐sweetened beverage taxes reduce intake, major review shows”

/ADA Public Release. View in full here.