Sugar tax is sweet
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