It’s been a year since Mexico implemented a sugary-drink tax, adding a 10% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. A recent study suggests the change is having a positive impact towards countering the country’s growing obesity epidemic.
The U.S. has long considered a tax similar to the 1 peso per liter on sugary drinks that Mexico instilled. Berkeley, California actually added its own tax to sugar-sweetened beverages in March 2015.
There hasn’t been a study correlating the additional tax with sales of sugar-sweetened beverages until now. The report in The BMJ suggests sales have dropped in Mexico, meaning the tax is curbing citizens from purchasing the unhealthy goods, theoretically translating to improved obesity rates for the nation.
The researchers reported an average 6% decline in purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages, and a 4% average increase in untaxed beverages over 2014. The decline in sugary drink purchases grew over time, dropping to 12% in December 2014.
Despite the positive indications, it’s still difficult to prove causality towards the tax alone. Health campaigns about sugary beverages and economic changes certainly played into the equation, too. Still, some hard proof – like the average person buying around four fewer liters of taxed beverages in 2014 – are very positive signs to fighting an obesity epidemic in the future.