Mexico's effective tax increase on sugary drinks inspires Britain, Canada

January 7
8:03 PM 2016

Mexico's 10% tax on sweetened drinks implemented in 2014 led to 12 percent reduction in sales, and is now being considered in Britain and Canada.

According to Medical Xpress a study by the British Medical Journal published this week showed that the 10 percent tax on sugary drinks led to an overall 12 percent decrease in sales. There had also been a 4 percent rise in sales of untaxed drinks, which are usually water. This result inspired policy discussions and decisions.  

Mexico has some of the world's highest levels of overweight, obesity, and even diabetes. It has even overtaken US in these statistics. Reducing the intake of sugary beverage has been a priority in preventing diabetes and obesity.

The Telegraph UK reported that American and Mexican researchers studied 6,200 households in 53 big cities in Mexico. They saw that in the first year upon implementation of the taxation, the average person bought 4.2 fewer liters of these sugary drinks.

The British Government will report a strategy to curb obesity among children in the following weeks. The Prime Minister hasn't announced yet if taxes will be increased. However, Public Health England suggested that taxation on sugary drinks at 10 to 20 percent would be one of the best moves to minimize obesity.

Meanwhile, CBC wrote that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's public health priorities include prohibiting advertisements on unhealthy food and beverages for children, eliminating trans fat, cutting salt content in processed foods, and enhancing the label in food products to provide more information about added sugars. Health Minister Jane Philpott said that she is very interested in studying health strategies from other countries, which includes the study from the British Medical Journal.

According to the British study, gradually lowering the added sugar content in sweetened drinks by 40 percent for five years would reduce the number of obese adults by one million in the UK. It could also help prevent 9,000 obese-related Type 2 diabetes conditions in the country for the next 20 years.

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