Viernes, 18 Agosto, 2017

Sugar Tax Curbs Spending On High-Calorie Beverages, Berkeley Study Shows

20oz plastic bottles of Coca Cola sit on an unidentified cooler shelf 20oz plastic bottles of Coca Cola sit on an unidentified cooler shelf
Danilo Martir | 21 Abril, 2017, 03:19

A paper in PLOS Medicine journal has data from the first USA city to introduce a sugary drinks tax.

It shows that the soda tax enacted in Berkeley is working as intended.

Barry Popkin of the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA and Lynn Silver from the Public Health Institute conducted a before and after study of the prices, sales of beverages and consumer spending on fizzy pop in Berkeley, California.

With other jurisdictions set to follow on soda taxes, the authors of the study say the Berkeley tax offers the first opportunity to evaluate the policy, and their study considered the first year of implementation (March 2015 - February 2016).

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The tax on sugary drinks is just a small step in a national effort to cut down caloric intake that can cause diabetes and obesity. Until the tax passed in Berkeley, no soda taxed had been imposed.

Last year, voters approved a similar soda tax in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif., as well as in Boulder, Colo., Cook County, Ill., and Philadelphia.

"It can not distinguish the longer-term effects of education and intensive media debate on SSBs in the communities surrounding the San Francisco Bay as a result of tax and other pre-existing campaigns in both Berkeley and San Francisco in 2014, although baseline store price survey and consumption data were collected after those campaigns but before tax implementation, mitigating this issue somewhat", they explain.

Proponents of soda taxes hailed the study as evidence of their effectiveness. He urged policymakers and voters in cities and counties without soda taxes to review the study and press for similar measures.

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A spokeswoman for the American Beverage Association, an industry group, said in an emailed statement that consumers have more information than ever before to make informed food and beverage choices.

Meanwhile, sales of bottled water rose by 15.6%, while overall sales of untaxed "healthier beverages" rose 3.5%.

Dr. Tom Farley, the city health commissioner, noted that the tax could also lower the rate of deaths from diabetes in Philly. Today, she regularly sees children with type 2 diabetes. Grocery bills averaged pretty much at the same levels, as to before the tax was imposed, suggesting that the residents of Berkeley either bought healthier options or other goods, The Guardian reported. But Silver pointed out that her study's findings mirrored those of another recent study of a soda tax in Mexico.

The study found that the volume of sugar sweetened beverages sold in Berkeley declined by 9.6% in the year following implementation; sales of healthier beverages rose (meaning there was no negative impact on overall beverage sales); and overall grocery bills (consumer spending per checkout) did not go up.

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Reuters reported elsewhere today that sales of soda drinks in the US fell in 2016 for the 12th year in a row, "as demand was hit by consumers choosing healthier options and a slew of sugar taxes aimed at stemming obesity and diabetes took effect".

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