Current Soda Taxes Not High Enough to Curb Obesity, Study Finds

Oct 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Current state taxes and levies on soft drinks are slowing consumption and resulting in slimmer waistlines, but the effect is generally small in magnitude, newly published research by the Yale School of Public Health has found. The study appears in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Assistant professor Jason M. Fletcher of Yale analyzed the effectiveness of various forms of taxation on (BMI) over a 16-year period. With colleagues from Bates College and Emory University, Fletcher found that an individual’s weight only mildly responds to changes in taxation—a 1 percent tax increase resulted in a BMI decrease of 0.003 points, which is less than a tenth of a pound for a man of average height.

“Our results suggest that the current low, hidden rates of soft drink taxation in most states are not effective in substantially changing adult consumption,” Fletcher said. “Our results leave open the possibility that large taxes that are communicated to consumers are still worthwhile to consider as policy options, but small tax changes will not work.”

The average current tax rate on soda is about 3 percent, though many states are contemplating further increases.

have come under increased scrutiny in recent years as a source of obesity in as well as adults and as a contributor to a range of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart complications. As a result, many states are turning to a “sin” tax to combat steadily growing rates of consumption. Higher taxes than what are currently imposed on soda have been used—with generally effective results—on tobacco and alcohol.

Fletcher, along with David Frisvold of Emory and Nathan Tefft of Bates, analyzed the impact of soda taxation on BMI in various states from 1990 to 2006. Their results indicated that soda taxation has a greater BMI effect on those with lower incomes and that the result is more pronounced for females and middle-aged and older individuals. In all cases, though, the effects on were very small.

Provided by Yale University (news : web)

Explore further: Study reveals significantly increased risk of stillbirth in males

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The big gulp: consumers avoid extremes in soda sizes

Aug 22, 2008

As portion sizes have increased, Americans' waistlines have expanded. And as a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research demonstrates, consumers are tricked into drinking more soft drinks when retailers eliminate small ...

Fight obesity? Add sales tax to soda tab

Sep 16, 2009

Presenting a united front in the war on obesity, diabetes and other nutrition-related disorders, seven of America’s leading public health and economics experts are urging passage of taxes on sugar-sweetened ...

Raising alcohol taxes reduces deaths

Nov 13, 2008

Raising taxes on beer, wine and liquor immediately reduces the number of deaths from alcohol-related diseases such as liver disease, oral or breast cancers, and alcohol poisoning, according to a new study published in the ...

Dietary factors appear to be associated with diabetes risk

Jul 28, 2008

Drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages or eating fewer fruits and vegetables both may be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas eating a low-fat diet does not appear to be associated with any change ...

Recommended for you

Don't let high altitude ruin your holiday trip

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—When you're planning your holiday get-away, don't forget to factor high altitude into your vacation sports—such as skiing or hiking, a sports medicine specialist cautions.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

AceLepage
5 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2009
I do not think that 'tax' is in place to control consumer consumption. It is a one dimensional way of government to attempt to influence the population. There are many other tools available. And to think that soda is a singular cause of obesity is also one dimensional thinking.
defunctdiety
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2009
How is this acceptable in the eyes of Americans!? This is a blatant use of economic policy, taxes, in an attempt at societal control, i.e. a methodology of fascism. Hey Government, you have no business, NO RIGHT, to influence the market in this way! Wake the hell up America, you are FAILING yourself!!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.