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From Health Affairs:

Mexico’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Shows Results

Bethesda, MD—In 2012 studies showed that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Mexico had reached 70 percent among adults and 30 percent among children. In an effort to combat the obesity epidemic, Mexico implemented a 1 peso per liter excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages at the beginning of 2014. A new study, released by Health Affairs as a Web First, estimated changes in beverage purchases in Mexico for 2014 and 2015. The authors found that purchases of taxed beverages (carbonated and noncarbonated sugar-sweetened beverages) decreased 5.5 percent in 2014 and fell an additional 4.2 percentage points to 9.7 percent in 2015. Households at the lowest socioeconomic level showed the largest decreases in purchases of taxed beverages for both years (9.0 percent decrease in 2014 and 14.3 percent in 2015). The authors also found that purchases of untaxed beverages (diet sodas, unsweeted carbonated and uncarbonated waters, juices, and dairy and substitute dairy products) increased 2.1 percent during the study period. These results contrast with industry reports of a decline in the effect of the tax after the first year of its implementation.

In Mexico, Evidence Of Sustained Consumer Response Two Years After Implementing A Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax

By M. Arantxa Colchero, Juan Rivera-Dommarco, Barry M. Popkin, and Shu Wen Ng

http://content.healthaffairs.org/lookup/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1231

Colchero and Rivera-Dommarco are affiliated with the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico; Popkin and Ng are with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

This study, which was supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the National Insitute of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Carolina Population Center, will also appear in Health Affairs’ March issue.

To compare consumer behavior before and after the tax took effect, the authors used store purchase data for 6,645 Mexican households from January 2012 to December 2015; the data came from Nielsen’s Mexico Consumer Panel Services. “At the global level, findings on the sustained impact over two years of taxes on the beverages in Mexico may encourage other countries to use fiscal policies to reduce the consumption of unhealthy beverages along with other interventions to reduce the burden of chronic diseases,” the authors conclude.

About Health Affairs

Health Affairs is the leading journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published by Project HOPE, the peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print and online, with frequent Web First studies and health policy briefs published at www.healthaffairs.org. The full text of each Health Affairs Web First paper is available free of charge to all website visitors for a one-week period following posting, it then switches to pay-per-view for nonsubscribers. You can also find the journal on Facebook and Twitter. Read daily perspectives on Health Affairs Blog. Download our podcasts, including monthly Narrative Matters essays, on iTunes. Tap into Health Affairs content with the iPad app.