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The impact of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages on diabetes: a critical review – published online 04/01/2024

Penalvo graphical abstract

José L. Peñalvo

The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes is rapidly rising, posing significant health and economic challenges, alongside evident disparities. The obesity epidemic exacerbates this issue, with sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) contributing to an excess intake of sugar and increased diabetes risk. In this issue, José Peñalvo (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-023-06064-6) discusses the implementation of SSB taxes as a promising public-health strategy to curb consumption of these beverages and alleviate the burden of type 2 diabetes. The author highlights how research indicates that such taxes lead to higher prices and reduced consumption of SSBs, particularly among lower socioeconomic groups, potentially reducing health inequalities. Ongoing tax schemes demonstrate positive effects on consumption patterns, with modelling studies predicting health benefits by preventing type 2 diabetes and related conditions. However, empirical evaluation of the impact of SSB taxes remains limited. Peñalvo concludes that continued research and tailored policies, coupled with complementary approaches to reduce diabetes and its risk factors, are crucial to effectively address the global type 2 diabetes crisis. The figure from this review is available as a downloadable slide.

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