Will Taxing Soda And Pizza Solve The Obesity Epidemic?

   By drodriguez  Apr 12, 2010

In the last few years, as the obesity epidemic heightens, researchers and scientists have been brainstorming on ways to help the nation slim down and get healthy.  One new idea coming from Kiyah Duffey and a team of reserachers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is to start taxing junk food items like soda and pizza.  The team believes that a tax on these types of high in fat and sugar items will make people think twice before purchasing them.

A recent report from Reuters discusses the research published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine about taxing soda and pizza.  According to the article the U.S. currently spends $147 billion a year in health costs due to obesity in Americans.  This hefty expense doesn ’t come as much of a surprise when you look at the current statistic that 2 out of every 3 Americans are either overweight or obese.  In the past, both the CDC and American Heart Association are now publicly supporting a tax on soft drinks.

But will a tax on these foods and drinks really make people stop buying them?  Duffey’s team believes it will.  After studying a group of over 5,000 people varying in age from 18 to 30 over a 20-year period, the researchers found that during this time when there was a 10 percent increase in pizza and soda costs, they saw a decrease in overall calorie consumption.  Individuals taking part in the study consumed 7 percent less calories from soda and 12 less from pizza when prices were up.  This led the team to believe that if there was something more substantial, like an 18 percent tax on these foods then we would see people’s daily calorie intake go down by about 56 calories.  That would add up to a weight loss of about 5 pounds per person per year. 

Duffey’s team goes on to further explain why a tax on pizza and soda can really benefit us as a country.  Duffey says, "While such policies will not solve  the obesity epidemic in its entirety and may face considerable opposition from food manufacturers and sellers, they could prove an important strategy to address overconsumption, help reduce energy intake and potentially aid in weight loss and reduced rates in diabetes among U.S. adults."

What do you think of the idea of taxing soda and pizza as a way to decrease the obesity rate in the U.S.?

Would a tax on these items make you think twice about purchasing them for you or your family?

Make a Comment

vintagepurple by vintagepurple | VISALIA, CA
Jul 27, 2010

soo... they subsudise corn making corn syrup cheap, lowering the cost of unhealty food, so to make it better tax those same foods?! that is MADNESS!!! stop susudising corn and let the market corect its self, the the capitolisom every one is so in to work its self out.

twin_pat by twin_pat | SCHENECTADY, NY
Jun 18, 2010

It's just another way the government can squeeze more money out of taxpayers. They have to raise more money for their pork barrels. They just keep on taxing and taxing. Mark my words it will keep increasing just like cigarettes and oil.

Innergy by Innergy | MARIETTA, GA
Jun 08, 2010

Tax on junk food?! CRAZY. Where is the money going? Unless it's going to build a local community center/gym where people can get more involved with the community AND work out. Nice idea but it still won't prevent folks from eating pizza. Healthly folks eat pizza, it's all good in moderation. What about salads? Some dressings have more calories than a double cheeseburger!!

Ellayem by Ellayem | Cincinnati, OH
Jun 05, 2010

Instead of taxing junk food, fast food, and soda, they need to cut the cost of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Eating healthy is expensive. It's much cheaper to grab something off of the dollar menu at any given fast food place than it is to pack your own lunch/make your own dinner. In today's economy, those cheap meals are enticing. Taxing these foods/drinks won't stop people from buying them. People still buy cigarettes, people still buy alcohol.

JustRebecca by JustRebecca | Homestead, FL
Jun 03, 2010

I don't think the government shoukd be telling us what we should and should not be doing with our bodies unless we are getting government support. Then it has every right because taxpayers are going to be footing the bill for diabeties and heart surgeries for obese people. If you get food stamps or any kind of government help then these foods should not be allowed period but I don't think taxing is going to stop people from buying it.

izzypup by izzypup | Lake city, TN
May 27, 2010

I think this idea is silly. I don't think a tax on these foods will have any effect on anyone's weight. Besides what is wrong with pizza and soda as long as it is eaten in moderation.

mommaduck by mommaduck | SAINT CHARLES, MO
May 20, 2010

heck no, it wont matter to me. i like soda and i like pizza. I dont have a weight issue and regardless of the tax if my family wants it i will buy it. if you want people to stop buy it, then dont make it.

gardengenie by gardengenie | LaValle, WI
May 19, 2010

It wouldn't help solve any of my household's weight issues - we're not big soda drinkers or pizza eaters.

djfields by djfields | Mount Airy, GA
May 16, 2010

I think taxing this and that is only an excuse to make someone more money. The word obesity just seems to make it ok.

josmommy by josmommy | toledo, OH
May 09, 2010

i dont think it will fix the problem,i thinks its rediculous to expect people to change their habits with eating if they are not will to.it needs to be a decision we make on our own to eat better not because Junk is so expensive

glittergoddess by glittergoddess | Bloomington, IN
May 08, 2010

I am against taxing junk food anymore then it already is. Having said that, I am offended that some people suggest that food stamps be limited in what items you can purchase. Allowing food stamps to purchase only certain items is punishment for being poor. Where should we draw the line. Should poor people not have a phone, a car? Should they live in squalor? Yes my family was on food stamps for about a year when I was little. It was used as a stepping stone, as I believe it should be. But I remember the criticism my mom received for every dime deemed unnecessary. You had to meet with someone frequently and account for any money you had and where it went. We didn't have a car so we had to alot bus money to get places, we were told this was an unnecessary expense and that we should walk. People with this attitude probably have never been poor a day in their life and therefore cannot possibly understand the stigma attached and how hard it is just to survive .

babyface239 by babyface239 | harker heights, TX
May 01, 2010

I really dont think putting taxes on these foods will make much difference cause if people like it they will still pay the price just like cigerettes

cybrown551 by cybrown551 | HOOKSETT, NH
Apr 28, 2010

Taxing these products will definitely make me think twice about purchasing these products. However I don't believe that this will solve our obesity problem. What I believe it will do is help to lower the price of some of these products when people stop buying them and that would offset the extra tax which would in turn put us back into the same situation as before. This may be a great way of lowering the price on products that are already overpriced. But unfortunately it will not solve the obesity problem.

Orchid25 by Orchid25 | RINGGOLD, GA
Apr 27, 2010

It's not going to work. Smokers still smoke even though cigarettes were taxed numerous times. No matter how much a product costs..if your addicted you will buy it no matter what.

kathoust by kathoust | Ecorse, MI
Apr 25, 2010

Ok, from what I'm reading, alot of you are basically saying that anyone on food stamps is overweight. So if the food stamp program eliminates the ability for recipients to buy junk food, soda and whatever else that's unhealthy, they will all become thin and healthy and anyone who isn't poor will be the only fat people of the world? And for the person that said when you make a food stamp purchase, you don't pay taxes, um yes we do..get your facts together and stop trying to blame America's obesity on poor people!