WHO Calls for Sugar Tax

January 27, 2016 International Tax Cooperation

GENEVA – The WHO has given its backing to sugar taxes, claiming that such a measure will help combat childhood obesity, especially in low-income households.

Following two years of research the World Health Organization’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity released a report this week on steps which can be taken around the world to combat childhood obesity, and, among the recommended measures, proposed the implementation of tax on sugar-filled drinks.

Supporting its view that sugar taxes will help reduce childhood obesity, the report stated that “…overall, the rationale for taxation measures to influence purchasing behaviors is strong and supported by the available evidence. The Commission believes there is sufficient rationale to warrant the introduction of an effective tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The WHO did not call for any specific rate of sugar tax, only saying that it has been well established that sugar-sweetened drinks are associated with increased obesity risks, and that fiscal measures aimed at reducing consumption may encourage consumers to make healthier choices.

It was also noted that any tax on sugar-sweetened drinks is likely to affect low-income families the most, and that these same low-incomes families who are at the highest risk of obesity.

Along with the tax measures, it was also recommended that governments introduce restrictions on advertising fast-food, and require food producers to affix packaging with standardized labels or stickers which provide concise details on the nutritional value and health value of foods.

Photo By: Melissa Wiese