Sugar tax is sweet

The Australian - - COMMENTARY -

I re­fer to Ge­off Parker’s ar­ti­cle (“Let’s leave the poor alone, and keep gov­ern­ment out of the pantry”, 11/10). First, there is strong ev­i­dence that in­creas­ing the price of un­healthy food and drinks de­creases their con­sump­tion, with no ev­i­dence of sub­sti­tu­tion with other un­healthy prod­ucts. Stud­ies into the im­pact of sug­ary drink taxes in Mexico and California show that sug­ary drink con­sump­tion sig­nif­i­cantly de­creased after taxes were in­tro­duced.

Sec­ond, it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that a levy on sug­ary drinks is just one of eight rec­om­men­da­tions put to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment by the Obe­sity Pol­icy Coali­tion and more than 30 other health and con­sumer or­gan­i­sa­tions last month. They in­clude poli­cies de­signed to tackle obe­sity in­clud­ing tougher re­stric­tions on junk food mar­ket­ing to chil­dren, the es­tab­lish­ment of an obe­sity task­force and de­vel­op­ing guide­lines for diet, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and weight.

Dis­ad­van­taged Aus­tralians are dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected by higher rates of obe­sity. Stud­ies show that low-in­come fam­i­lies — among the big­gest con­sumers of sug­ary drinks — drink fewer sug­ary drinks after a tax is in­tro­duced. Jane Mar­tin, Obe­sity Pol­icy Coali­tion, Mel­bourne, Vic

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