If we want to get serious about obesity, it starts with education – not laws and regulation. Our regular readers have heard this here before: soda taxes are bad policy. A discriminatory tax on soft drinks is not only unpopular with voters, but also will not address the complex issue of obesity.
But don’t just take our word for it - a recent study published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics confirms that a tax on soda would not curb obesity. The economic study was based on real-life consumer purchases assessed by Nielsen Homescan data.
The researchers concluded that people would simply get their calories from other, perhaps more caloric, foods if the prices of sugar-sweetened beverages were increased because of a tax. Furthermore, the authors cite potential unintended consequences of a soda, which would result in an increased intake of sodium and fat and “highlight the complexity of using targeted food and beverage taxes to improve nutrition outcomes.”
As this study and others illustrate, a soda tax is anything but simple. Earlier this year, Denmark abolished its tax on soft drinks after nearly eight decades since there was no evidence it was improving health and was costing the economy jobs.
When it comes down to it, what you eat, drink and feed your family is your choice and does not need government control, oversight or influence. Taxes don’t make people healthier. Diet and exercise do that!