United Kingdom’s Sugar Tax

The U.K. finance minister George Osborne announced on March 16th a plan to introduce a tax on sugary drinks.  Under the proposed levy, companies would be taxed according to the volume of sugar in the beverages they produce or import and the proceeds would be used to fund school sports, child nutrition programs and education.  Fruit juices, smoothies and milk-based drinks are exempt from the planned tax. 

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The influence of sugar-sweetened beverage warning labels on parents’ choices

Roberto et al. Pediatrics. 2016;137(2):e20153185.

Consumption of sugary drinks among children remains high, with two thirds of children aged 2 to 11 years old drinking them at least once a day. One untested strategy to reduce consumption is to place a warning label on sugary drink containers, soda fountains, or vending machines to provide parents with information about the health effects of sugary drinks. Roberto and colleagues find that such warning labels may reduce parents’ intent to purchase sugary drinks.

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Higher retail prices of sugar-sweetened beverages 3 months after implementation of an excise tax in Berkeley, California

Falbe et al. Am J Public Health. 2015;105:2194–2201.

In March 2015, Berkeley, CA became the first locality in the nation to implement a 1-cent-perounce excise tax on sugary drinks. In order for such a tax to reduce consumption, a substantial portion of the tax must be passed on to the consumer. Falbe and colleagues present evidence that Berkeley’s sugary drink tax is passed through to the customer via higher shelf prices for sugary drinks

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Three interventions that reduce childhood obesity are projected to save more than they cost to implement

Gortmaker et al. Am J Prev Med. 2015;49(1):102–111.

Advocates need data and evidence to choose among several strategies for reducing childhood obesity. Gortmaker and colleagues review the cost effectiveness of seven childhood obesity prevention interventions when applied to the US population.
They find that a sugary drink tax is one of three cost-effective interventions.

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