The impact of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages on health, body weight and consumption.
Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) are beverages that contain added sugar, corn syrup, or other caloric sweeteners, such as soda. Unlike other food and beverages, SSBs offer no nutritional value (1), and have been linked to increased risk of obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes (2 -7).
Recently, SSB taxes have emerged as a potential public health strategy to address obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. This brief summarizes findings from a number of reviews relevant to the impact of taxing or changing the price of SSBs on beverage consumption and body weight.
- Taxing or raising the price of SSBs may effectively reduce SSB consumption (8-10).
- Effectiveness of tax or price changes may be limited when they are applied only within specific settings, such as grocery stores or vending machines, as consumers have the ability to purchase these products at a lower price elsewhere (8).
- Taxing SSBs may help to improve population-level body weight (8, 10). However, the impact will likely depend on the size and type of tax that is applied (10).
- More research is needed to illustrate the link between taxation and price changes of SSBs, beverage consumption, and population body weight (8, 10).
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9. Eyles H, Ni Mhurchu C, Nghiem N, Blakely T. Food pricing strategies, population diets, and noncommunicable disease: a systematic review of simulation studies. PLoS Med. 2012;9(12):e1001353.
10. Powell LM, Chriqui JF, Khan T, Wada R, Chaloupka FJ. Assessing the potential effectiveness of food and beverage taxes and subsidies for improving public health: a systematic review of prices, demand and body weight outcomes. Obes Rev. [Review]. 2013 Feb;14(2):110-28.