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Could placing a tax on sugared beverages help fight obesity?



American children currently drink more sweetened beverages than they do milk. This is partly due to economics. Soda is cheaper and more widely available than milk. So some experts are suggesting a way to level the playing field – place a large tax on sugared beverages.

High taxes on cigarettes have helped curb smoking rates, and now states such as Maine and New York are considering a similar move to reduce soda consumption.

Studies consistently show that people who drink sweetened beverages tend to weigh more, consume more calories, and have a higher risk for diabetes. Taxing soda and similar drinks by 10 percent could cut consumption by 10 percent.

Education alone is not working. The only way to get people to stop drinking so many of their calories is to hit them in their pocketbooks, the policy experts say. But the companies are fighting back with economics as well. Pepsico is considering moving their headquarters out of New York State if the proposed sugared beverage tax goes forward.

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What is the best way to fight obesity? Some public health experts claim a large tax on sugared beverages may be the single most effective way to get Americans to cut calories.

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