September 18, 2009
According to ABC News,
Several of the nation’s leading health experts are calling for a tax on soda as a means of curbing America’s obesity-epidemic.
Their paper, appearing in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, calls for a tax on “sugar-sweetened” drinks in order to reduce the consumption of the drinks and lower health costs as well as fund government-run health programs.
“A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is really a double-win,” said Dr. David Ludwig, a co-author of the paper and director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children’s Hospital, Boston.
“We can raise much-needed dollars while likely reducing obesity prevalence, which is a major driver of health care costs, the paper states. “Ultimately the government needs to raise more money to cover the deficit, and in terms of ways of raising that revenue, a tax on sugar sweetened beverages is really a no-brainer.”
Unfortunately for the health experts who wrote the report, the effects of soda taxes have already been studied. Below is an excerpt from a paper by Jason Fletcher (Yale University), David Frisvold (Emory University), and Nathan Tefft (Bates College):
Our results, based on state soft drink sales and excise tax information between 1988 and 2006 and the National Health Examination and Nutrition Survey, suggest that soft drink taxation, as currently practiced in the United States, leads to a moderate reduction in soft drink consumption by children and adolescents. However, we show that this reduction in soda consumption is completely offset by increases in consumption of other high calorie drinks.
September 14, 2009
Jason Fletcher, David Frisvold, and Nathan Tefft have published a new paper on the effects of soft drink taxes on child and adolescent consumption and weight outcomes:
Childhood and adolescent obesity is associated with serious lifetime health consequences and has seen a recent rapid increase in prevalence. Soft drink consumption has also expanded rapidly, so much so that soft drinks are currently the largest single contributors to energy intake. In this paper, we investigate the potential for soft drink taxes to combat rising levels of adolescent obesity through a reduction in consumption. Our results, based on state soft drink sales and excise tax information between 1988 and 2006 and the National Health Examination and Nutrition Survey, suggest that soft drink taxation, as currently practiced in the United States, leads to a moderate reduction in soft drink consumption by children and adolescents. However, we show that this reduction in soda consumption is completely offset by increases in consumption of other high calorie drinks.
September 13, 2009
According to the Associated Press:
An Indiana court has ruled that a pizza shop must pay for a 340-pound employee’s weight-loss surgery to ensure the success of another operation for a back injury he suffered at work — raising concern among businesses bracing for more such claims.
So what is the consequence of such a ruling?
The Indiana Court of Appeals decision, coupled with a recent Oregon court ruling, could make employers think twice before hiring workers with health conditions that might cost their companies thousands of dollars at a shot down the road.
July 18, 2009
The Globe and Mail — Packing on the extra pounds might actually help Canadians live longer, a new study has found.
Using body mass index as a measure, the study examined 11,326 adult Canadians over 12 years and found that overweight people were 17 per cent less likely to die than people with normal weight. Normal weight is defined as having a BMI of between 18.5 and 25, with those classified as overweight having a BMI of between 25 and 30.
The findings were published online in the research journal Obesity and give support to similar studies previously done in the United States that indicated a bit of excess weight might protect against premature mortality.