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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Harvard: Sugary Beverage Taxes Good for Public Health, Reduce Health Care Spending

Prior to a tax on sweetened beverages passing in Philadelphia over the summer, an analysis by the Childhood Obesity Intervention and Cost Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health projected that the move would help prevent obesity, diabetes, and premature deaths — and save more in future healthcare costs than it would cost to implement.

New research by the project, released October 27, projects similar results in four additional cities considering sugary beverage taxes: Albany, NY, Oakland, CA and San Francisco, CA, and Boulder, CO.

The researchers, led by Dr. Steven Gortmaker, professor of the practice of health sociology and director of the Harvard Prevention Research Center, suggest that revenue from the taxes be used for education and health promotion efforts. “Implementing the tax could also serve as a powerful social signal to reduce sugar consumption,” they write.

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