February 18, 2014
Tax to tackle bitter problem
The author of a study on sugar consumption in New Zealand says taxing the sugar in soft drinks could have a positive effect on Maori health.
Otago University epidemiologist Tony Blakely says children get nearly a quarter of their total sugar from fizzy drinks, which sets them up for future ill health.
He says a 20 per cent tax on Coke and other fizzy soft drinks could save more than 60 lives a year and reduce the incidence of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
It would be an effective way to start addressing health risks like diabetes among Maori and Pacific people, because low income people respond more to price changes.
"If you’re starting from a higher BMI (body mass index), as you are with Maori and Pasifika, then you are going to get more gain as far as the number of lives saved per person in that population, so we would expect this to be quite a pro-equity or reducing inequality intervention, just a small bit, it’s no panacea, but it should make a contribution that’s more per head of population for Maori than non-Maori," Professor Blakely says.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH TONY BLAKELY CLICK ON THE LINK
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