American Heart Association Comments on Sugary Drink Taxes in Mexico

The American Heart Association comments on first-year evaluation of implementation of Mexico’s sugar-sweetened beverage tax in 2014.

January 07, 2016 Categories: Advisories & Comments

DALLAS, Jan. 7, 2016 — In 2014, Mexico implemented a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as a step toward reversing the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity.

A study examining the first-year impact on beverage volume sales in Mexico after tax implementation shows that a tax of one peso per liter decreased the volume of sugary drinks purchased by a significant amount (6% monthly average), while also increasing the volume of healthier drinks purchased (4% monthly average), specifically bottled water. This makes a strong business case for implementing these taxes elsewhere. The study also rebuffs the myth that these taxes are regressive. In fact, low-income families chose healthier drinks more often.

Scientific research shows that overconsumption of added sugars contribute to heart disease and other chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Mexico has paved the way for other nations to decrease sugary drink intake and has shown sugar-sweetened beverage taxes are an effective strategy to make healthy choices easier.

The American Heart Association is excited to see such progress in just one year of this new tax, and looks forward to tracking long-term impact and changes to consumer health.  We will continue to support similar efforts to make heart-healthy living easier for all communities.

Sugary drinks are an unnecessary part of the American diet, that decades ago were just a treat and are now guzzled at alarming rates by many people, particularly young males. From sports drinks to sodas to fruit-flavored drinks, today’s children are often drinking their age in the number of sugary drinks they consume each week. Evidence shows adults should consume no more than about 36 ounces of these drinks, or 450 calories, each week - yet the average 8-year-old boy consumes about 8 servings, or 64 ounces, each week. Reducing consumption as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle will help improve rates of obesity, diabetes, dental caries, and heart disease.

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Suzette Harris (214) 706-1207; suzette.harris@heart.org

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