Published: January 2013

ID #: 65062

Journal: J Health Econ

Authors: Finkelstein EA, Zhen C, Bilger M, Nonnemaker J, Farooqui AM, Todd JE

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This paper estimates the changes in energy, fat, and sodium purchases resulting from a tax that increases sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) prices by 20 percent as well as the effect of such a tax on body weight. Researchers found that a 20 percent price increase on SSBs would result in a decrease in energy purchased in stores of 24.3 calories per day per person, which would translate into an average weight loss of 1.6 pounds during the first year and a cumulated weight loss of 2.9 pounds over 10 years. Substitution from SSBs to other beverages was limited and only involved fruit juices. There was no evidence of substitution to sugary foods, and there was a decrease in calories from complementary foods (i.e., ice cream, salty snacks).

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