Australia to tax sugary drinks?

Sugary drinks Australia infographic

Startingly sweet data about sugar (source: rethinksugarydrink.org.au)

A new study by Deakin University’s Gary Sacks and colleagues has calculated the impact on Australia of a tax on sugary drinks, similar to the one that will come into effect in the U.K. in 2018. In their article in The Conversation, Sacks says 25 years after the introduction of the tax in Australia, there would be 4,400 fewer cases of heart disease and 1,100 fewer strokes. An estimated 1,600 people would be kept alive longer. The savings to the healthcare system would add up to A$609 million, with revenue collected above A$400m annually. This would provide the government with funds to subsidise healthy food for low income Australians, contribute to childhood obesity prevention programs and support the adoption of healthy eating habits. The cost of preventable disease is threatening to overwhelm the health system, therefore a tax on sugary drinks makes sense. However, the tax must be one element of a comprehensive approach to address poor diets and overweight and obesity, including understanding of the non-economic barriers and benefits to change.

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