Weighing the evidence on obesity
I feel tempted. Because I’ve been saying it for so long. Soft drink taxes won’t solve obesity. They may not even make any difference.
The latest evidence is from Australia. Sugar-sweetened beverages down. Obesity up.
- 29% fall in contribution of sugar-sweetened beverages to national diet from 9.0 to 6.4kg per person between 1997 and 2018;
- 27% decline in sugar-sweetened beverages from 83 to 61 litres per person, including
- 41% drop in carbonated soft drinks consumption from 76 to 45 litres per person;
- 83% increase in non-sugar sweetened beverages, such as water and diet soft drinks, from 48 to 88 litres per person, including
- 700% surge in plain still water from 6 to 48 litres per person;
- leading non-sugar sweetened beverages to outsell sugar-sweetened beverages since 2015.
What I hadn’t known is that a United Nations meeting on non-communicable diseases in 2018 “had considered and rejected an SSB (sugar-sweetened beverage) tax”, according to Australian Beverages Council Chief Executive Officer Geoff Parker.