Breaking News
February 19, 2018 - Study sheds light on biology that guides behavior across different stages of life
February 19, 2018 - Morning Break: Transgender Breast Feeding; Brazilian ‘Pro-Vaxxers’; Post-Stroke Exercise
February 19, 2018 - Meningitis vaccination strategy in Africa found to be effective, economical
February 19, 2018 - Researchers uncover how excess calcium may influence development of Parkinson’s disease
February 19, 2018 - Psoriasis drug also effective at reducing aortic inflammation
February 19, 2018 - Excess emissions can make serious contributions to air pollution, study shows
February 19, 2018 - Diabetes Drugs Differ on HF; School-Based Obesity Program Flop; Plaque Type in ACS
February 19, 2018 - Surgical infections linked to drug-resistant bugs, study suggests
February 19, 2018 - Poor awareness may hinder a child’s early dental care
February 19, 2018 - FDA Approves Apalutamide (Erleada) to Help Curb a Tough-to-Treat Prostate Cancer
February 19, 2018 - Educational Tool Boosts Cervical Length Screening
February 19, 2018 - Spider’s web inspires removable implant that may control type 1 diabetes
February 19, 2018 - Scientists develop fluorescent probe to identify cancer stem cells
February 19, 2018 - University Hospital of Santiago de Compostela participates in large pancreatic cancer study
February 19, 2018 - New blood test shows promise to revolutionize diagnosis of tick-borne diseases
February 19, 2018 - Report: Use, Not Price, Drives State Health Costs
February 19, 2018 - Emergency services crews often unprepared for diabetic crises
February 19, 2018 - Scientists in Sweden create DNA nanowires that offer hope for treatment of diseases
February 19, 2018 - ID Break: Clean Hands, Fewer Abx; $11 Million HIV Cure?; MenB Vax for Kids
February 19, 2018 - Patient exposure to X-rays depends on how dentists are paid
February 19, 2018 - Study reveals parents’ views toward children’s tanning bed use
February 19, 2018 - Shot may help reduce risk of shingles
February 19, 2018 - FDA approves first treatment to reduce risk of NSCLC progression
February 19, 2018 - FDA Expands Approval of Imfinzi (durvalumab) to Reduce the Risk of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Progressing
February 19, 2018 - D.C. Week: Congress Passes Spending Bill
February 19, 2018 - Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery
February 19, 2018 - FDA Approves First Blood Test to Detect Concussions
February 19, 2018 - Survival Bump in Bladder Cancer with Keytruda
February 18, 2018 - Scientists describe the mechanism of heart regeneration in the zebrafish
February 18, 2018 - Scientists uncover the structure of microtubule motor proteins
February 18, 2018 - Light-activated cancer drugs without toxic side effects are closer to becoming reality
February 18, 2018 - Pioneering research could provide novel insight into how genomic information is read
February 18, 2018 - Pearls From: David Putrino, PhD
February 18, 2018 - Researchers uncover how cancer stem cells drive triple-negative breast cancer
February 18, 2018 - Morning Break: Anti-Anti-Vaxxers; Private Piercings Prohibited; A Case for Pelvic Massage
February 18, 2018 - Lower-dose radiation effective, safe for HPV+ head and neck cancer after induction chemo
February 18, 2018 - Specialist residential service for adults with autism opens in Swansea
February 18, 2018 - FDA Moves to Limit Loperamide Doses per Package
February 18, 2018 - Alcohol use disorder – Genetics Home Reference
February 18, 2018 - Autism might be better detected using new two-minute questionnaire
February 18, 2018 - Hand hygiene-intervention practices may reduce risk of infection among nursing home patients
February 18, 2018 - Researchers develop most sophisticated mini-livers to date
February 18, 2018 - Obamacare Helped More Young Women Get Prenatal Care: Study
February 18, 2018 - School-Based Program Fails to Dent Kids’ Obesity
February 18, 2018 - Research compares neural activity in children with and without autism spectrum disorder
February 18, 2018 - Poor fitness levels increase the risk dementia, concludes study
February 18, 2018 - Risk Score May Reveal if Kids are Victims of Ill-Treatment
February 18, 2018 - Adding Folic Acid to Corn Masa Flour May Prevent Birth Defects
February 18, 2018 - Acute treatment suppresses posttraumatic arthritis in ankle injury
February 18, 2018 - A Role for Budesonide in Autoimmune Hepatitis?
February 18, 2018 - Lupus patients exhibit altered cell proteins, a discovery with potential implications for diagnostics
February 18, 2018 - Muscle plays vital role in regulating heat loss from the hands
February 18, 2018 - High-tech brain scans can provide new way to define intelligence
February 18, 2018 - Study reveals the association between ultra-processed foods and cancer
February 18, 2018 - Prescription Opioid Use Tied to Higher Pneumonia Risk
February 18, 2018 - A non-invasive method to detect Alzheimer’s disease
February 18, 2018 - Deletion of specific enzyme leads to improvement in memory and cognitive functions
February 18, 2018 - Amyloid protein may be transmitted through neurosurgical instruments, study suggests
February 18, 2018 - Electric brain signals of males and females show differences
February 18, 2018 - American Heart Association commends McDonald’s for offering healthier menu in kids’ meals
February 18, 2018 - Parents Find Kids’ Weight Report Cards Hard to Swallow
February 18, 2018 - Does a Financial Conflict of Interest Ever Expire?
February 18, 2018 - Exercise can improve Alzheimer’s symptoms
February 18, 2018 - Scientists develop green chemistry method to improve pharmaceutical manufacturing efficiency
February 17, 2018 - ‘A Time Clock to a Tissue Clock’ for Acute Stroke Care
February 17, 2018 - Cancer Care Gets Personal | NIH News in Health
February 17, 2018 - Do more youth use or do youth use more?
February 17, 2018 - Eating faster linked to obesity
February 17, 2018 - Who’s Still Smoking? ACS Report Highlights Most Vulnerable Adults
February 17, 2018 - Study of smoking and genetics illuminates complexities of blood pressure
February 17, 2018 - Study reveals new link between bone cells and blood glucose level
February 17, 2018 - Children with reading challenges may have lower than expected binocular vision test results
February 17, 2018 - Mass Shootings Trigger Change for Emergency Medicine
February 17, 2018 - ECMO helps revive woman thought to be drowned
February 17, 2018 - Learning stress-reducing techniques may benefit people with epilepsy
February 17, 2018 - Shedding Pounds Before Weight-Loss Surgery a Smart Move
February 17, 2018 - FDA Approves New Cystic Fibrosis Drug Combo
February 17, 2018 - Augmented Reality helps surgeons to ‘see through’ tissue and reconnect blood vessels
February 17, 2018 - Emotional state affects operation of the entire brain instead of being restricted to specific regions
February 17, 2018 - Apalutamide Slows Metastasis in Prostate Cancer
Federal Junk Food Tax Feasible, Study Says

Federal Junk Food Tax Feasible, Study Says

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

A federal tax on junk food and soda is both legally and administratively feasible, a review of U.S. tax laws and policies concluded.

Rather than taxing consumers when they buy junk food, the best approach would be a federal excise tax on junk food manufacturers, similar to the tax the government already levies on alcohol manufacturers, said researchers led by Jennifer Pomeranz, JD, MPH, of the College of Global Public Health at New York University in New York City.

The junk food excise tax could be graduated, based on levels of unhealthy ingredients like sugar and salt, just as the government taxes beverages with a higher alcohol content at a higher rate, Pomeranz and colleagues said in the American Journal of Public Health.

“Graduated taxes may be a promising method to guide consumers toward healthier products and encourage industry reformulation, and have also been suggested by economists in other health contexts,” the review authors said. “In addition, a graduated junk food tax seems administratively feasible on the basis of identified evidence on existing federal graduated alcohol beverage taxes.

“Whereas local taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are rapidly growing in popularity and political acceptance, these do not have the broad effects that a national tax might have,” they said. “In addition, substantial disease burden results from other dietary factors, including processed meats and ultra-processed foods high in starch, added sugars, salt, and trans fat.”

Some cities in the United States, starting with Philadelphia and Berkeley, have passed taxes on soda and sugar-sweetened beverages in order to reduce consumption, noted Lauri Wright, PhD, director of the clinical nutrition program at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, who was not involved in the research. Such taxes have also been implemented in Europe, most notably in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

However, “such taxes have shown mixed results and generally work better in combination with education,” Wright said, adding that “a tax alone can’t fix obesity, diabetes and other obesity-related diseases.”

Pomeranz and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature, U.S. food tax laws, and federal taxing mechanisms. They identified peer-reviewed journal articles that discussed and defined food products that would qualify for a junk food tax. They used and the UConn Redd Center’s legislative database to examine federal and state bills and laws that were proposed or passed from 2012-2017. They also researched the federal tax code using the U.S. Master Excise Tax Guide, LexisNexis, and the Treasury Department’s web sites.

Previous research has examined beverage tax options, global food tax policy, and definitions of taxable food, but no previous study has evaluated the legal and administrative mechanisms to define and implement a U.S. federal junk food tax to improve diet quality, Pomeranz’s group said.

While a federal junk food tax may be legally and administratively feasible, political feasibility is another thing entirely, Pomeranz and colleagues said. “Political feasibility in the current political climate is uncertain and seems unlikely. However, compared with legal or administrative feasibility, political considerations can evolve quickly depending on current events, public attention, election results, and shifting alliances,” they said.

Wright, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agreed that a federal junk food tax would have little political traction.

“Given the current political climate, it is doubtful we will see a federal tax,” Wright said in an email to MedPage Today. “The focus should be on motivating people to implement healthy behaviors rather than punishing people for bad behaviors. Motivation techniques would include incentives and tax breaks. Further, increasing the access to affordable healthy foods is important along with improving the physical environment to encourage more physical activity.”

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The study authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles