Nationwide Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Would Prevent Thousands of Heart Attacks, Strokes and Cases of Diabetes, New Study Predicts

Researchers Predict Tax Would Help Prevent More Than $17 Billion in Medical Costs Over a Decade
A nationwide, penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would prevent thousands of heart attacks, strokes, cases of diabetes and premature deaths, helping avoid billions of dollars in medical costs over 10 years, according to a study published today in Health Affairs. This is the first major study to predict how specific health problems and financial costs could be directly affected by such a tax.

Researchers calculated that a penny-per-ounce tax would reduce overall consumption of sugary drinks by 15 percent among adults ages 25 to 64. They also estimated that, between 2010 and 2020, it would prevent 2.4 million diabetes person-years (a measure that combines how many people have diabetes with how long each of those people lives with the disease), 95,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 8,000 strokes and 26,000 premature deaths. Their calculations indicate the change would help the nation avoid more than $17 billion in medical costs during those 10 years.

To see more information on this study, a statement on its findings from James S. Marks, MD, MPH, senior vice president and director, Health Group, and other RWJF-funded research, journal articles and online resources related to sugar-sweetened beverage taxes, visit our website.


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