Tax on Sugary Drinks Will Reduce Obesity

August 22, 2014 Taxation in South Africa

soda tax in South AfricaJOHANNESBURG – Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages in South Africa could help as much as 220 000 people in the country shed enough weight to no longer be regarded as medically obese.

Earlier this week the results of a new study were published in the academic journal PLOS One, showing that instating a 20 percent tax on the sale of sugar sweetened beverages in South Africa may significantly reduce the occurrence of obesity in the country.

The study is based on an analysis of the latest available consumer data regarding the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, and the results of further examination of the potential impact that price hikes will have on consumer demand for such drinks, and on the ultimate effect that the shift in demand may have on caloric intake and body mass.

The results of the study indicated that a 20 percent tax on the sale of sugar sweetened beverages would reduce the average daily caloric reduction of 36 kJ per person, leading to reduction in weight, and 3.8 percent fall in the instance of obesity among men, and a 2.4 percent fall in obesity among women.

According to the conclusion drawn in the report, if the tax was implemented, the number of obese adults in South Africa would fall by 220 000, drastically reducing premature deaths and weight related health issues.

It is currently estimated that 10.6 percent of men in South Africa are obese, while the rate is as high as 39.2 percent among women.

Photo By: Ben Seidelman