Taxing caloric sweetened beverages to curb obesity

A bar chart showing how a 20 percent price increase from tax reduces total calorie intake from caloric sweetened beverages.

ERS researchers analyzed the effects of a hypothetical tax on caloric sweetened soft drinks, fruit drinks, powdered mixes, and energy and sports drinks. The researchers found that a 20-percent tax on these beverages purchased at grocery stores and restaurants could trigger changes in consumption that would result in an average reduction of 37 calories a day for adults, which translates into a loss of 3.8 pounds of body weight over a year. The estimated decreases for children averaged 43 calories a day, or 4.5 pounds over a year. This graphic originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of Amber Waves magazine.

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