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  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: soda taxes do not decrease obesity

    Despite previous efforts by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to fund soda tax efforts as a means to cut obesity, a recent report released by the organization casts serious doubt on the impact soda taxes have on decreasing obesity levels. Instead, the report found that soda taxes cause the population to replace calories from sugar-sweetened beverages with calories from other sources, thereby resulting in no measurable impact on overall health.

    This marks the second such report by the influential health organization debunking the arguments that soda taxes will reduce obesity.

    As noted by the Washington Examiner, this report “could be a major blow to liberal and progressive state and local leaders who believe that high soft-drink taxes will instantly cut obesity, especially in children. It also undercuts social advocates who believe it is up to lawmakers to take over for parents and steer the nation’s children on a path to healthy living.”

    The discredited claim that soda taxes decrease obesity serves to underscore our motto at Californians for Food and Beverage Choice that taxes and regulations don’t make people healthy — diet and exercise do! In fact, we highlight some of the same conclusions on letsclearitup.org HERE.

  • Illinois Soda Tax Bill Stalled In Committee

    Yesterday, an Illinois Senate committee heard testimony on a bill that would impose a one-cent-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

    Opponents of the legislation cited numerous economic ramifications of the bill.  For example, residents would travel to neighboring states to purchase beverages at a cheaper price, hurting local small businesses. This could lead to job loss in addition to additional burdens on struggling families.

    Here’s what many people probably don’t know about the proposal: this sugary beverage tax wouldn’t apply only to soda. It would also impose additional costs on sports drinks, juices, and some coffees and teas.

    Proponents of the legislation said the potential price hike would dissuade consumers from purchasing the drinks, possibly leading to a decrease in the obesity rate. However, a recent study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation casts serious doubt on the claim that soda taxes reduce obesity. If anything, it just encourages consumers to seek their calories elsewhere.

    Obesity is serious medical condition that deserves a comprehensive public policy response, and while a soda tax is an appealing option for some legislators, it has been shown to have no significant impact on obesity.

    The soda tax bill is currently stalled in the Illinois legislature. Let’s hope the lawmakers soon figure out what consumers already know: if we want to get serious about obesity, we need to start with education about moderation and exercise, not with laws and regulations. 

    (Photo by Justin Brockie)

  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: soda taxes do not decrease obesity

    Despite previous efforts by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to fund soda tax efforts as a means to cut obesity, a recent report released by the organization casts serious doubt on the impact soda taxes have on decreasing obesity levels. Instead, the report found that soda taxes cause the population to replace calories from sugar-sweetened beverages with calories from other sources, thereby resulting in no measurable impact on overall health.

    This marks the second such report by the influential health organization debunking the arguments that soda taxes will reduce obesity.

    As noted by the Washington Examiner, this report “could be a major blow to liberal and progressive state and local leaders who believe that high soft-drink taxes will instantly cut obesity, especially in children. It also undercuts social advocates who believe it is up to lawmakers to take over for parents and steer the nation’s children on a path to healthy living.”

    The discredited claim that soda taxes decrease obesity serves to underscore our motto at Californians for Food and Beverage Choice that taxes and regulations don’t make people healthy — diet and exercise do! In fact, we highlight some of the same conclusions on letsclearitup.org HERE.

  • New Study Dismantles Soda Tax Supporters’ Main Argument

    A new study found that soda taxes have no impact on obesity rates. In fact, according to the study, soda taxes could actually worsen the obesity crisis as people were found to simply shift to their consumption to other sources of sugar.

    From The Washington Examiner:

    The report published in "Health Economics" and provided to Secrets could be a major blow to liberal and progressive state and local leaders who believe that high soft-drink taxes will instantly cut obesity, especially in children. It also undercuts social advocates who believe it is up to lawmakers to take over for parents and steer the nation's children on a path to healthy living.

    This report undermines one of the main arguments of soda tax proponents. Senator Mattie Hunter from Illinois, for example, has directly cited improving public health as the goal of the legislation when she introduced her proposed soda tax in February. Now, we know the truth. Soda taxes have not, do not, and will not make people healthy.  Diet and exercise do that. 

    If we want to get serious about obesity, it starts with education – not laws and regulation. Politicians should focus on what matters most – education, jobs and the economy – and leave the grocery shopping to us.

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