Taxing soda could help curb obesity epidemic, says HSPH expert

Taxing sugar-sweetened drinks is a good step to take toward fighting the national obesity epidemic, said Eric Rimm, associate professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, on the WBUR show Radio Boston on June 11, 2012. Noting that there is no nutritional value in sugar-sweetened drinks, Rimm said, “I think we need every tool we can get to fight the obesity problem in the state and in this country.”

Rimm said he thinks that a tax may tamp down on young people’s tendency to buy soda—such a tactic worked for cigarettes—and that the money gained from the tax could be used for obesity prevention programs.

Rimm also commented on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent proposal to limit the sale of sugary drinks to portions no larger than 16 ounces. “It’s not just a one-point plan,” Rimm noted. “They have 25 different things they want to address, like access to physical activity and helping people learn how to cook. Ultimately [Bloomberg’s] goal is to make it more of a public health intervention—and this is the best place to start.”

Listen to the Radio Boston story

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Taxing soda to slow the obesity epidemic (HSPH Nutrition Source)

Time to focus on healthier drinks (HSPH Nutrition Source)

Healthy food and beverage access (HSPH Obesity Prevention Source)