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Australian sugary drinks tax could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes and save 1600 lives

Credit: Daniel Oines/Flickr CC BY 4.0

Most Australians exceed the recommended maximum levels of sugar. Credit: Daniel Oines/Flickr CC BY 4.0

A 20% rise in the price of soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters would save lives and reduce cardiovascular disease in Australia.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

By Gary Sacks, Jane Martin and Lennert Veerman

Earlier this year the United Kingdom announced a sugar tax on soft drinks. The tax will come into effect in 2018, with the funds to be used to address childhood obesity.

The move has been applauded by public health groups internationally. Unsurprisingly, the tax is strongly opposed by powerful groups in the food industry, and the announcement resulted in shares in Coca-Cola temporarily plunging.

In our new research published today in PLOS ONE, for the first time we have modelled the impact of such a tax in Australia. Over 25 years, a 20% rise in the price of soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters would save 1,600 lives. It would also prevent 4,400 heart attacks and 1,100 strokes.

Overall, the savings to the health-care system would add up to A$609 million.

It’s time for Australia to...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.