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Mexico Soda Sales Fell By 12% One Year After Sugar Tax

Update Date: Jan 08, 2016 09:06 AM EST

A year after Mexico implemented a tax increase on soda drinks yielded positive results: the 2014 10% soda tax caused the sales of sugary beverages to shrink as much as 12% across the country according to a recently published study that appeared on the British Medical Journal.

Mexican health officials are convinced that taxation can effectively trigger collective behavioral changes to reduce the country's obesity problem. The research findings are a compelling evidence that would make Mexico an interesting case study for policymakers especially on public health concerns.

"There are many countries in the region and other parts of the world that have been waiting on empirical evidence from Mexico to determine whether to implement similar measures. I think this is encouraging for all the countries that have been deciding whether to use this measure. This is a demonstration that it works," told Franco Sassi of the public health program at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as quoted by New York Times.

The biggest decrease in sugary drink purchases were reportedly coming from poor households where monthly consumption fell as much as 7% as mentioned by The Telegraph.

Apart from the huge drop of nationwide sales of sweetened beverages, the study also revealed a 4% increase in bottled water sales according to a Value Walk report.

Because of its extremely high obesity rate, Mexico is becoming one of the focal points in the global campaign against obesity. Nearly 70% of Mexican adults are identified as either overweight or obese. In addition, the country registered the highest rate of people with Type 2 Diabetes among OECD member-states.

Now, Mexican policymakers are mulling on a proposed soda tax hikes from 10% to 20% as well as expanding the scope of government's intervention on matters concerning public health such as extending similar tax policy on tobacco products, banning of junk foods, and requiring food companies to print clear nutritional information on their products.

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