Early results from Mexico’s sugar tax

Mexico has one of the highest rates of soda consumption, overweight, and diabetes in the world. The average Mexican adult drinks 163 liters of soda. 72% of adult Mexicans are overweight, and 15% have diabetes.

In the fall of 2013, the Mexican federal government passed a 10% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. The following year, purchases of these beverages decreased an average of 6% relative to the counter-factual (controlled for seasonal and pre-existing trends), indicating that this tax was an effective deterrent. Evaluating the public health benefits of this tax will require more time, but this is a promising early result.

While hard evidence for dietary interventions is difficult to gather, much of what we know already argues for a compelling public interest in curbing the consumption of refined sugar similar to the public interest in decreasing smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.

A tax on refined sugar with proceeds going to consumer-level fresh produce subsidies would be a great way for us to invest in a healthier future for ourselves.

“Beverage purchases from stores in Mexico under the excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages: observational study”

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Author: Harrison Kalodimos

I'm a family medicine resident at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.

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