Taxing soda not sure way to cutting obesity
Taxing soda and other sugary beverages may encourage people to drink them less often, but a new study suggests that the strategy may not be that effective in reducing obesity because consumers tend to replace them with other unhealthy foods.
The study, published online in the American Journal of Agriculture and Economics, found that a 10 cents tax on a typical 20-ounce bottle of soda could reduce total calories from the 23 foods and beverages that were examined in the study. However, the researchers say people can just tend to substitute an untaxed high calorie food for a taxed one.
The study also looked at purchasing behavior between lower and higher income households. They found that compared to higher-income families’ purchases, lower-income families purchased foods and beverages higher in calories, fat and sodium. The researchers suggested that while lower-income families would reap more benefits from drinking less soda, they also would be paying more in beverage taxes, which would make it a regressive tax.
Obesity rates in the United States are about 36 percent for adults and 17 percent for children and adolescents.