RWJF Statement Regarding Study on Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax

    • January 8, 2012

The following is a statement from James S. Marks, MD, MPH, senior vice president and director, Health Group, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, regarding the study: “A Penny-Per-Ounce Tax On Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Would Cut Health And Cost Burdens Of Diabetes, Obesity, And Heart Disease,” by Y. Claire Wang, et al., published in Health Affairs on January 9, 2012.

“The study by Y. Claire Wang and her colleagues released today shows that even modest reductions in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption could prevent thousands of cases of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and save billions of dollars in medical costs. This is encouraging news, as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are a major burden on our nation’s health and some of the main drivers of skyrocketing health care costs.

“The authors predicted that, when people drink fewer sugary drinks, they likely will drink more milk and juice, but also more water and diet beverages. The resulting reduction in calories consumed would improve health and drive down health care costs.

“Other research also has shown us that food and beverage companies that sell more better-for-you products do better financially. So if people switch from drinking sugary beverages to no- or low-calorie beverages, it could be good for their health and also for the financial health of the companies producing lower-calorie beverages. That’s good news.”