National Soda Tax Would Make Americans 4% Less Fat

Photo via City Pages

The USDA has recently been delving into the potential benefits of enacting a tax on sugary beverages like sodas and fruit juices. Clearly, there's plenty to debate about such a tax -- whether it would raise soda prices enough to discourage consumption, whether it would unfairly impact the poor, how much revenue it would raise, and whether it would actually make anyone healthier. Well, according to the USDA's just-released study, it would at least do the latter -- the projections show that a sugar tax on sweet drinks would reduce caloric intake from beverages by 13% in adults. For the average American, that equates to roughly 3.8 fewer pounds gained per year.Here's a chart displaying the findings:

And here's GOOD on the significance of these findings:

the USDA estimates that a tax would reduce the number of calories from sweetened beverages ... consumed by adults in the United States by 37 a day ... 37 calories a day over the course of a year is 3.8 pounds. And while that doesn't seem like a lot of pounds in an obese person, the study finds that a lot of people are only a tiny bit (like, say, less than 3.8 pounds) obese or overweight. A reduction of 3.8 pounds across the population, says the USDA, could reduce the percent of overweight adults from 66.9 to 62.4 percent, and the percent of obese adults from 33.4 to 30.4 percent.
The gist here is that a sugar tax would actually put a noticeable dent in overall obesity levels in Americans, and actually flat out prevent a number from reaching obesity in the first place.

More on Soda Taxes
Soda Tax Could Raise $10 Billion Per Year for Cash-Strapped States
A Soda Tax Would Bring In $650 Million in NYC Every Year

Tags: Education | United States

Best of TreeHugger