Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Mexico's soda tax will save 18,900 lives and more than $983 million over 10 years, study says
A new estimate of the health impact of soda taxes in Mexico sheds some light on what's at stake in ballot measures coming to a vote in three Bay Area cities and Boulder, Colo. next week. In cases of heart disease and diabetes averted, the model suggests that, in Mexico, those levies are on track to save close to a billion dollars and powerfully improve lives.
After a tandem run-up in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity, Mexico has become one of the fattest countries on Earth. In 2014, it adopted a 10% excise tax on the sale of sugary drinks.
The beverage producers claimed that soda taxes would do little to reduce consumption. But market surveys show that Mexicans reduced their purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages by an average of 6% in 2014 per household.
And by December 2014, that drop in purchases was at 12%.
If Mexicans sustain this pattern of consuming fewer sweetened beverages, the model developed by researchers predicts that over 10 years, the 10% excise tax could prevent 189,300 new cases of Type 2 diabetes, 20,400 strokes and heart attacks, and 18,900 deaths among adults 35 to 94 years old.
From 2013 to 2022, the reductions in diabetes alone could yield savings in projected healthcare costs of $983 million dollars, the researchers concluded.