(Mirror Daily, United States) – It appears that Mexico’s higher tax on sugary drinks is working in driving the sales down and effectively encouraging the population toward healthier options. If it continues to be a viable solution against diabetes and obesity, it is possible that the measure will be taken in the U.S. as well.
On January 1st, 2014, Mexico adopted a new tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSD) of 1 peso/liter, which is a 10% increase. Over the course of one year, the average decline was of 6% and peaked at 12% in December. At the same time, consumption of non-taxed beverages was up by 4%, which was largely attributed to the population purchasing bottled water.
In essence, the raise showed that the increased taxes encouraged the population to stave off SSB and instead turn their attention to healthier alternatives. That is truly a step forward for Mexico, where around 70% of adults are either overweight or obese. The nation also has one of the world’s highest prevalence of diabetes. It seems that raising taxes on unhealthy drinks that are associated with the condition could be a viable solution.
According to lead author of the study, Dr. Shu Wen Ng, from the University of North Carolina, many other countries are persuaded to follow suit, such as France, Chile, Barbados, and a few others. Many more are still discussing the possibility.
Mexico took the same measure for junk food, increasing the tax by 8% on candy, cookies, and ice cream. It will take more than a year’s time, but it’s possible that the same effect will be noted.
The flaw within the study is rooted in the fact that the researchers did not assess the nutrient value of the SSB that have seen a decrease in consumption. Thus, it is difficult to pin down the proper effects on the health of the population as a whole. However, with bigger taxes on sugary drinks, the manufacturers might lower their sugar content. It has been estimated that a 40% reduction of sugar in SSB in the next 5 years could drastically reduce the rate of obesity.
In fact, it could prevent 1 million people from becoming obese, and another half a million from becoming overweight.
In the U.S., Berkeley, California, is the only city to adopt a similar tax on sugar. According to Dr. Robert Lustig from the University of California though, a proper effect won’t be seen as long as soda actually costs less than other drinks such as milk.
Image source: medicaldaily.com