Sugary Drinks, A Public Health Challenge: Using Tax Policy to Promote Wellness and Prevention
Rachel Johnson, PhD, Professor of Nutrition and the University of Vermont Chair, Nutrition Committee, American Heart Association
Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest
Robert Greenstein, Founder and President, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Consumption of added sugar is one of the most significant public health hazards of our time. Research shows that excess intake of added sugar leads to considerable health, economic, and social costs. Almost half of the added sugar in the American diet is found in sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks, energy drinks (36%) and fruit drinks (11%). Reducing the consumption of sugary beverages, which typically do not satiate hunger or provide nutritional benefits, may lead to substantial gains in the health of the nation.
In an effort to achieve that goal, one policy option now under consideration is changing the relative price of sugary beverages through taxation. This forum will review the health consequences of sugary beverage consumption, explore tax policy as a mechanism for health behavior change and discuss the economic and public health benefits that could stem from a tax on sugary beverages.
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