Implementation of Sugar Fat tax in the United States of America

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Implementation of Sugar/Fat tax in the United States of America
Attempts by the government to eradicate obesity and tooth decay in the United States has
brought about the introduction of the tax on sugary soft drinks. The former Chancellor George
Osborne two years ago introduced the sugar tax in the releasing of his budget statement in the
year 2016. The drinks companies will be levied a new tax to face taxation charges in accordance
with how much sugar is in their beverages (Falbe et al. 1865-1871). Two classes of taxation are
bound to be realized. One is in relation drinks total sugar content that tends to contain more than
5g per 100ml, while a higher tax is levied on drinks known to contain at least 8g/100ml. This text
is a critical analysis of the implementation plan of the United States of America’s sugar tax.
Other countries are known to have undertaken measures that are similar and have been
seen to be successful in ensuring that the rate of drinking fizzy has declined in as far as the sugar
content in drinks is concerned (Schwendicke, and Stolpe 17). Mexico is known to have brought
into an existence a 10% tax in 2014 targeting drinks that are known to be sugary in which, led to
a decline to the tune of 12% of the rate of sugary drinks in its first year if implementation. The
accrued tax has since been opposed on account that it targets of extorting money from the poor
because they will feel the biggest impact of the taxation system. Health campaigners are yet to be
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satisfied and have proposed an extension of the framework that is used in targeting reduction of
tax rate of sugary drinks by including chocolate, sweets, and confectionaries that often have huge
sugar contents.
Majority of Americans have been on record endorsing the move to impose the tax on
sugary drinks to raise funds for children’s health programs, and preschool claims a recent poll
that was conducted in California. The results reveal higher levels of support than in national polls
that have been conducted in the recent past, which have revealed that majority of Americans are
opposed to taxing sodas, although their popularity has grown in recent past as official at the local
levels strive to get an amicable way deemed fit to mobilize resources. Research has previously
been used to gauge the support of the public for this taxation without necessarily relating this
kind of taxation to the aimed goal of raising funds for preschool education. About 57% of
respondents interviewed are in support of taxing soda and other sugary drinks that is aimed at
mobilizing resources to fund for poverty alleviation, funding preschool and other healthcare
programs such as reducing obesity, while on the other hand, 39 percent are opposed to the idea.
Americans are seen to be sharply fragmented in terms of their opinions on a number of sensitive
policies relating to food, including the question as to whether to do away with the drinks that are
sugary in nature and also sugary foods and whether it should be a requirement for restaurants to
indicate the counts of calories on their menus (Falbe et al. 1865-1871).
Effects of Excessive Sugar Intake
Taking huge quantities of sugar content may cause serious and aggravated health issues. Sugary
beverage intake is highly associated with an abnormal increase in weight and obesity
(Schwendicke, and Stolpe 17). Women drinking one or more sugary beverages on a daily basis
are exposed the risk of getting diabetic condition twice compared to those who take one or less
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sugary beverage in a day. The risk of a child to getting obese rises by up to 60% as a result of
every sugary drink that is taken in a single day. With regards to children who often take
carbonated drinks, their risk of developing problems with their dental cavities increases.
Pros and Cons of Sugar Content Tax Imposition
Imposition of taxes on sugar has brought with it various pros and cons, as are about to be
discussed in this text. Taxes on sweetened drinks are accounted based on the volume of the
drink, which means that both high and low sugar drinks are subjected to a similar framework of
taxation. But soft drinks differ greatly in their sugar content from other forms of drinks. While in
some drinks only less than 2 teaspoons sugar content is added in every eight serving of ounce
others contain about 7 teaspoons of sugar. Experts in public health have opined that imposing the
tax on sugary drinks to discourage its consumption is often fruitless. If only taxes were focused
on most sugary-drinks there the level of sugar consumption would reduce with the advancements
of the levels of taxation (Falbe et al. 1865-1871). Notably, the framework and agencies of the
federal government have both the capability and authority to impose taxes on all soft drinks that
are sugary to the detriment of the American people. (Schwendicke, and Stolpe 17). The federal
government has in the past imposed tax on spirits on account of the content of alcohol and has
gained experience in taxing different products with different rates of taxation such as spirits and
wines. The approach that is used in taxing alcohol products should, therefore, be imposed on
sugary products.
The cost of reducing sugar in soft drinks may be minimized by taxes based on sugar content.
The cost of raising revenue by taxing sweetened beverages, rather than just sugar-sweetened
beverages (SSBs) is minimized by taxation of sweetened beverages. With the taxation of soft
drinks becoming more common, it would be prompt for individual jurisdictions to find that
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indeed the easiest way out is the adoption of the same design that is akin to the neighboring
jurisdictions (Falbe et al 1865-1871). Such coordination will go a long way to reduce the
administrative burden on both governments and businesses.
Apart from just sugar in drinks, there is also yet another debate as to whether the United
States should adopt a fat tax. Two thirds of American adults are obese and if the predictions by
the Centre for Disease Control is anything to go by, almost half of American adults will be obese
by the time its 2030 (Schwendicke, and Stolpe 17). In the last thirty years, obesity rates in
children have tripled to an extent where the arteries of an obese child are as thick as those of a
health 45-year old. Such children are susceptible to stroke, heart disease and diabetes at a tender
It is an open secret that Americans have high affinity for junk food (Mela 80). This addiction
is set to continue as American industries purpose to come up with new and more ways to keep
Americans addicted to food that is rather convenient and pocket-friendly to acquire. Diet is not
only the factor driving the problem of obesity in America but eating food that contains all the
nutrients necessary to qualify a balanced diet is the surest way of preventing the occurrence of
obesity amongst American citizens.
Effects of Excess Fat Intake
When there is excess consumption of fat, the caloric intake levels are raised and this leads
to the introduction of elements that are rather detrimental and are a threat to life and longevity.
Eating foods that are of high fat content indicates deficiency of minerals, vitamins as well as
fiber that are very essential for digestion. (Mela 80). The consumption of calories to the tune of
high levels of between 20-35% can result in increased weight, obesity and other chronic and
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incurable diseases. Uncontrolled fat intake has effects on the body organs that include potentially
fatal complications. Saturated fat consumption has grave effects on blood cholesterol and arterial
health and this can lead to untimely damage to the heart, brain or the kidney. A rise in blood
cholesterol can lead to arterial bleeding and damage can occur that encourages the buildup of
plaque on artery walls which are contributed to by saturated and fat, this consequently causes the
narrowing of blood flow space, and could potentially cause blockage of blood vessels. The
resultant effects are heart attack, stroke or kidney failure (Schwendicke, and Stolpe 17).
Impact of Tax Imposition
There has been a 21% decrease in consumption of SSBs and a 4% increment comparison to
other cities. The consumption of water, on the other hand, has seen a 63% increase in
comparison to other cities. If the SSB taxes of other cities were to be evaluated, results would
reveal improved understanding of their public health and benefit their generalizability (Mela 80).
Reducing sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption has become now become a serious
public health priority due to the strong evidence that SSBs increase risk of obesity, diabetes,
heart disease, and dental caries.
The implementation of 20% SSB has done great favor to the younger age groups as well as
low income earners by reducing their energy consumption. The mean BMI in younger groups
has been decreased by taxation, especially for those who are falling in the age category of 2029
years. In addition, there seems to be quite minimal effects in groups 60 years or above (Mela 80).
There have since been reduced cases of fresh obesity cases in most of the states in the United
States of America.
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As a matter of conclusion, it goes without saying that implementation of sugar and fat taxes
in the United States is a justified cause. It is common knowledge that obesity has time and again
deprived the country able men and women that could otherwise participate in nation-building. If
this is what it takes to alleviate obesity, then no one should stand in the way of the US
government's efforts to impose taxes on sugars and fats.
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Works Cited
Falbe, Jennifer et al. "Impact Of The Berkeley Excise Tax On Sugar-Sweetened Beverage
Consumption". American Journal Of Public Health, vol 106, no. 10, 2016, pp. 1865-
1871. American Public Health Association, doi:10.2105/ajph.2016.303362. Accessed 25 Apr
Mela, David J. Food, Diet, And Obesity. CRC Press, 2005.
Schwendicke, Falk, and Michael Stolpe. "Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Impact On
Overweight And Obesity In Germany". BMC Public Health, vol 17, no. 1, 2017. Springer
Nature, doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3938-4. Accessed 25 Apr 2018.
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