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Taxes and subsidies could encourage healthier diet and lower healthcare costs
Date:9/2/2014

ding in supermarkets and served to children in schools and afterschool programs.

"We are encouraged by existing research linking public awareness campaigns and changes in the food supply to declines in cardiometabolic risk factors and chronic disease," Ludwig said. "It's clear that poor nutrition has a major role in some of the leading American health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. We must act now to reduce the financial barriers to more sensible dietary choices and help people live long, productive lives."

Over time, the size of the tax could be on a sliding scale depending on nutritional quality, a tactic the authors hope would prompt restaurants and food manufacturers to produce healthier products. "We believe our proposal of a food tax and subsidy system would be faster to implement than other approaches," Rogoff added. "Reducing the rate of diet-related diseases and their economic costs would be a huge economic and welfare boost to Americans, and help relieve pressures on the health care system."

Prior research has shown that higher quality diets typically cost about $1.50 more per person per day. "With a modest 10-30% tax on most packaged foods, healthy foods such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables could be subsidized to cost pennies to consumers," Mozaffarian said. "This would dramatically reshape the food supply, help to reduce nutritional and health disparities amongst the poor and other disadvantaged Americans, and potentially save billions of dollars in year in health care costs for diet-related diseases."


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Contact: Andrea Grossman
617-636-3728
Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus
Source:Eurekalert

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