Monday, May 4, 2009

NEJM Looks at Soda Tax

A penny-per-ounce excise tax could reduce consumption of sugared beverages by more than 10%, Dr. Kelly Brownell, Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University and Dr. Thomas Frieden, Health Commissioner for the City of New York, suggest in an April 30 "Perspective" piece in the New England Journal of Medicine. Brownell and Frieden say a review of places that have enacted soda taxes shows that every 10% increase in the price results in a drop in consumption by 7.8%.

They say sugar-sweetened beverages may be the "single largest driver of the obesity epidemic," and that proposals to tax sugared beverages gain support from the general public if the revenue is used for programs to prevent childhood obesity, such as media campaigns, physical activity facilities, and healthier food in schools. A poll of New York residents found that 52% supported a "soda tax," but the number increased to 72% when respondents were told that the revenue would be used for obesity prevention.


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