Employee Benefit Views

Study: Soda surcharge is penny-wise — and pound-wise, too

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Posted January 18, 2012 by By Kelley M. Butler at 03:27PM. Comments (5)

We’ve all heard the term “penny-wise and pound-foolish.” However, according to findings from a new study in the journal Health Affairs, this cliché doesn’t hold true when it comes to proposed surcharges on soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages, as the study’s authors conclude that a nationwide penny-per-drink soda tax would reduce consumption of sugary drinks by 15%.

The study, detailed in a blog post from California-based media group KQED, shows that the modest one-cent tax (which adds up when you consider the 13.8 billion gallons annually Americans drink in sugar-sweetened beverages) would help reduce the incidence of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

No doubt, the surcharge also would have a positive effect on curbing obesity, and Lord knows we could use all the help we can get on that front.

Oh, and it would save $17 billion in health costs. If that’s not enough to make you say, “A penny for your Pepsi,” I don’t know what is.

What do you think? Would a soda surcharge be meaningful enough to lend a hand to your company’s wellness efforts? Do you think it would have a significant impact on consumers’ overall health habits? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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