Soda tax in Mexico could prove beneficial for United States
Earlier this year, Berkeley was one of the first U.S. cities to enstate a tax on sugary drinks such as soda, sweetened juices, and energy drinks.
Critics complained that the price increase alone would not help curb long-standing problems such as obesity, and that although revenue is rising, there is not sufficient data to accurately review results in the US thus far.
Mexico, on the other hand, has had a soda tax since 2013. The one-peso-per-liter tax came along with an increase in price for junk foods, and the new regulation went into full effect in January 2014.
Mexicans drink approximately 40% more soda than Americans, at 43 gallons per capita per year. The rates of obesity in both countries are similar as well, at 32% of adults in Mexico and 36.5% in the United States.
Since the tax began, soda consumption in Mexico has dropped six percent, and finally went down to 12% by December of 2014.
Several factors to consider in evaluating the data from Mexico are the much wider income inequality gaps, and the severe lack of clean drinking water. People within lower income brackets were the first to cut down on soda, and began opting for bottled water instead.
An ideal tax amount would be 20% per liter, which could be increased over time. With these results however, spreading the tax from a local to national level, although difficult, could have substantial health benefits.
Cover image: Wikimedia Commons