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Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Not a 'Holy Grail' But a Cup at Least Half; Comment on 'Food Taxes: A New Holy Grail?'

International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 2013, 1(2), 183–185

3 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2013  

Jason Block

Harvard Medical School

Walter C. Willett

Harvard University - Department of Nutrition

Date Written: November 10, 2013

Abstract

In this commentary, we argue for the implementation of a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax as a tool to help address the global obesity and diabetes epidemics. Consumption of SSBs has increased exponentially over the last several decades, a trend that has been an important contributor to the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Prior evidence demonstrates that a SSB tax will likely decrease SSB consumption without significantly increasing consumption of other unhealthy food or beverages. Further, this tax is unlikely to have effects on income inequality and should not contribute to weight-based discrimination. A SSB tax also should raise revenue for government entities that already pay, through health care expenditures and health programs, for the consequences of excess SSB consumption.

Keywords: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages; Tax; Economics; Obesity; Overweight

Suggested Citation

Block, Jason and Willett, Walter C., Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Not a 'Holy Grail' But a Cup at Least Half; Comment on 'Food Taxes: A New Holy Grail?' (November 10, 2013). International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 2013, 1(2), 183–185. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2352367

Jason Block (Contact Author)

Harvard Medical School ( email )

250 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ijhpm.com

Walter C. Willett

Harvard University - Department of Nutrition ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States

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