Researchers Suggest Taxing Pizza, Soft Drinks to Curb Obesity

U.S. researchers predict an 18 percent tax on soft drinks and pizza would lower U.S. adult calorie consumption enough to reduce their average weight by 5 pounds annually, Reuters reports. Writing in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, the researchers say using taxes could be an effective weapon in fighting obesity.

“While such policies will not solve the obesity epidemic in its entirety and may face considerable opposition from food manufacturers and sellers, they could prove an important strategy to address over-consumption, help reduce energy intake and potentially aid in weight loss and reduced rates of diabetes among U.S. adults,” the team wrote. Kiyah Duffey of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill led the group.

The group predicts that by taxing pizza and soft drinks 18 percent, daily calories would be lowered by 56 per person, which would result in a weight loss of 5 pounds per person annually.

“Our findings suggest that national, state or local policies to alter the price of less healthful foods and beverages may be one possible mechanism for steering U.S. adults toward a more healthful diet,” Duffey and colleagues wrote.

With two-thirds of Americans classified as overweight or obese, lawmakers are considering taxes as one way to help lower that number. For example, California and Philadelphia are looking at bills to tax soda in an effort to lower consumption.

See the NACS nutrition policy issue page for more on what’s happening in Washington regarding foodservice and menu-labeling issues.

National Association of Convenience Stores

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