Could a Soda Tax Cure Obesity? Or Is There a Better Way?

pouring on the pounds
A NYC advertisement against soda
Hold onto your Cokes, soda is under attack. People have been debating a soda tax for years, but Alaska, Kansas, Mississippi, New York, Philadelphia and Vermont have all tried and failed to pass a soda tax.

Meanwhile, just last week the USDA released a report predicting that a 20 percent increase in the price of high-calorie, sweetened beverages could result in adults consuming 37 fewer liquid calories daily and kids consuming 43 fewer calories. Given that change, adults stand to lose an average of 3.8 pounds and kids 4.5 pounds after a year. This could bring obesity rates down 3-4 percentage points.

The interests of soda lobbyists aside, some hunger advocates think a soda tax is a bad idea. Keep reading to find out why.


In a January 2010 hearing on a proposed soda tax in New York State, Food Bank New York said that the regressive tax would unfairly penalize the poor and do nothing to make healthier beverage choices more affordable. "While we applaud public officials’ desire to fight diet-related disease and steer consumers away from soda, we urge them to do so by expanding poor consumers’ options, not limiting them."

What do you think? Could a soda tax make soda a less appealing option -- or are there better ways to help people make healthier choices?


Image via Drinking Yourself Fat Campaign/New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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