UK scientists push for 20% soda tax

The charge could lead to 180,000 fewer obese adults in the region, the researchers argue.

By InvestorPlace Nov 4, 2013 2:26PM

Credit: © Jacky Naegelen/Reuters
Caption: Cases holding bottles of Coca-Cola are seen on the production line at their bottling plantBy Christopher Freeburn

It seems New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn't the only one worried about the fattening effect of soda consumption.

Facing estimates that a quarter of United Kingdom residents are currently obese, scientists from Oxford University and Reading University are suggesting a 20% tax on sales of sugary soda. The levy is expected to most impact the consumption habits of people under 30 and result in a 1.3% reduction in British obesity, the Associated Press notes.

That would mean 180,000 fewer obese adults in the country, according to the researchers' calculations, published in the British Medical Journal.

Once scientist noted that almost any other beverage is “going to be better than a sugary drink.” He noted that the tax proposed by the study wouldn’t end the problem of obesity, but could contribute toward a decline in the number of obese people.

Mexico, Norway, France and certain areas of the U.S. have imposed taxes on sugary sodas. However, the overall impact of such levies remains unclear.

In New York, Mayor Bloomberg imposed a ban on the sale of large-sized sugary sodas last year, but it was struck down by a judge earlier this year.

Soda makers like PepsiCo (PEP) and Coca-Cola (KO) have been criticized by health advocates for producing drinks that contribute to growing waistlines. Coca-Cola has responded with an advertising campaign that stresses is low-calorie offerings and calls on people to take personal responsibility.

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