Updated 01:13 PM EDT, Fri, Aug 07, 2020

Mexico Now Consumes Less Soda Because of Tax

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It is a known fact that Mexicans love their sweets and the taste of sugary sodas. However, due to the country's pioneering tax on sugary beverages, consumption of those drinks in this soda-loving country have been significantly cut.

According to New York Times, a tax on sugary beverages was implemented in 2014. After a year, sales of sugary beverages in the country dropped by as much as 12 percent. On the other hand, sales of bottled water rose by 4 percent, a new study said.

Public health authorities have praised the research findings and took it as hard evidence that implementing a nationwide tax can spur behavioural changes in people that might help lessen the country's obesity rate.

The obesity rate in Mexico has reached disturbing levels and has been given media attention worldwide. It was found that of the 34 developed countries that are part of the O.E.C.D., Mexico has the highest rate of adults who are obese -- about 70 percent.

Their analysis of data, derived from more than 6,200 Mexican households in 53 large cities, showed that the average person bought 4.2 fewer liters of sugary drinks than they would have before the tax was implemented.

The reduction in sales of sodas was highest among poorer households, which was reported to have fallen by 17 percent by the end of 2014, according to the study.

The country also has the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes. It was reported by the website that Mexico also has the highest per capita intake of soft drinks, which would account for 70 percent of the sugars consumed by the average Mexican.

Local health advocates led an effort to push a nationwide tax on sugary drinks in 2013. This was widely supported by medical groups.

After the country experienced a fierce debate from Mexico's food and beverage industry, Mexico's government passed a 1-peso per liter sales tax on sugary beverages.The tax would amount to a 10 percent price increase on soft drinks, which is half of what health advocates hoped for.

According to Fox Maine, Franco Sassi, senior health economist at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, said that taxes on sugary drinks and other unhealthy products would help in the fight against obesity. However, he warned that they should not be taken as a "magic bullet."

"Such taxes need to be used in conjunction with other policies, such as government regulation, public education about nutrition, and incentives for research and development in food production," Sassi said.

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