Taxing Unhealthy Foods Could Benefit Consumer Health, Study Says

September 21, 2010

With talk of taxing sugary foods such as sodas at a high, a study published in the March 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that a price hike, such as a tax, on unhealthy foods may cause may cause adults to consumer fewer of those foods. From 1986 to 2006, the study assessed the dietary habits of 5,115 young adults ages 18 to 30. Over the 20-year period, researchers found that a 10% price increase was associated with a 7% decrease in the amount of calories consumed from soda and a 12% decrease in calories consumed from pizza.

With talk of taxing sugary foods such as sodas at a high, a study published in the March 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that a price hike, such as a tax, on unhealthy foods may cause may cause adults to consumer fewer of those foods.

From 1986 to 2006, the study assessed the dietary habits of 5,115 young adults ages 18 to 30. Over the 20-year period, researchers found that a 10% price increase was associated with a 7% decrease in the amount of calories consumed from soda and a 12% decrease in calories consumed from pizza.

The researchers estimated that an 18% tax on these foods would result in approximately 56 fewer consumed calories per person per day. '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,' they wrote.