• An Nguyen

Tax increase on sugary drinks

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the government should tax sugary drinks to fight the global epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

A twenty percent price increase could reduce consumption of sweet drinks by the same proportion. According to NBC News, “Drinking fewer calorie-laden sweet drinks is the best way to curb excessive weight and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, although fat and salt in processed foods are also at fault.”

Obesity more than doubled worldwide between 1980 and 2014, with eleven percent of men and fifteen percent of women classified as obese. An estimated forty-two million children under age five were overweight or obese in 2015, according to Francesco Branca, director of WHO's nutrition and health department.

The United States has the highest obesity rate in the world. In Mexico, a tax rise in 2014 led to a ten percent price hike and a six percent drop in purchases of sugary drinks.

The WHO said there was increasing evidence that taxes and subsidies influence purchasing behavior and could be used to curb consumption of sweet drinks.