Article Example: Obesity and Tax on Sugar

8 pages
1973 words
University of Richmond
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Executive introduction

High consumption of sugar results to obesity and other chronic ailments, the imposition of a tax levy on this particular commodity would lead to an increase in the retail price of sugar. In the long-run, this will discourage people from consuming much of this merchandise.


Obesity refers to a situation whereby the human body absorbs so many fats that are not readily burnt in the body, and this result in the accumulation of lipids. Other than obesity, sugar has been associated with some ailments like the heart diseases, diabetes, and many others. Consumption of sugar and sugary beverages are freely available in the market, their intake is increasingly alarming, that there is an earnest call for action to reduce the number of persons being affected by the long-term consumption of this product. Use of these unhealthy products is mainly by the youths, children, and people from poor backgrounds who dont have the information on the effects of the long-term use of some of these products.

A tax imposition is one of the suggestions of strategies that can be used to regulate the use of sugar in the society. However, this regulation only affects the low-income social, economic group, thus emancipating existing inequities in health. Revenue generated from this imposition is further used in other health programs that entail childhood, as well as prevention of diabetes and also these levies, should be used to subsidize the prices of alternative healthy diets. Some researchers have proved that indeed sugar contributes to obesity and overweight. Different approaches have been used to illustrate these factors. This paper will seek to address whether indeed there are impacts on sugar tax on obesity if they are there give a clear cut-out between the advantages and disadvantages of this outcomes.


This illustration is a rationale that there is a subsequent increase in prices of commodities in case of a tax imposition. The assumptions made in this study were based on the fact that price elasticity leads to a shift in demand for a commodity, the high price in case of a price increment discourages people from consuming this product and thus impacting on individuals fat accumulation and weight gain. This illustration further assumes that obesity is prevalent in different age groups and various income groups, and also their social and cultural background. What the multiple individuals think of particular products also affects much how much of this commodity is consumed.


A tax levy can be imposed per calorie value or the amount of sales unit. The implementation can either be at an exercise tax whereby the commodity is taxed before sales, or as a sales tax that is at the point of purchase. These levies are imposed on top of the ordinary value added tax. All these are aimed at achieving an ultimate goal of reducing the consumption of sugar and thereby reducing the chances of becoming obese.

Setting and perspective

The research parameters that we are using in this illustration are from an analysis that is conducted in Germany. In this case, the costs that are incurred during the medication of obesity were not quantified. The research was generalized with no specific research questions that were to be tackled.

Target population and the scope covered

The research was carried out on people aged between 15 and 79 years of age. The individuals are later put in classifications in their different genders and groupings of an age difference of ten years. The expenditure of these individuals was placed into the task as the assumption made was that whatever the amount of spending, it was on sugar and other sugary beverages that causes obesity. Also, there is a presumption that any sugar consumed led to an increase in the fat accumulation. The study was in progress in a few months with data collected and well tabulated to ease the process of analysis. A conclusion indicates that if the price goes down, the consumption will ultimately go up and thus increased chances of obesity in society.

Consumption quotient

In this stage, the researcher seeks to understand the amount of sugar that is mainly taken by a particular group of individuals. It was assumed that people from the same gender and within the same age group had similar effects and outcomes.


The parameters that were used to conclude were the BMI which is a division of one's weight with his or her weight. As mentioned above the changes in price which were as a result of the changes in the different taxation levels affected the consumption and usage of this commodity, and also this determined how much weight was accumulated and even some fats accrued. In this research, those who consumed little amounts of sugar had lower cross-price elasticity as compared to the high users of sugar.


From this particular research, we find out that, increase in prices of sugar led to the low usage of the same in men mainly and very little change is seen in women. We can, therefore, conclude that sugar tax led to a slight decrease in consumption of sugar and thus, will reduce obesity in the society.

Consumption of unhealthy diets and high body mass are the vital factors that associate with health and chronic diseases. Use of sugar in large quantities results to some health complications. The health problems include; Obesity, tooth decay and also diabetes. As a result, there is an imposition of extra costs to the particular individuals and the entire society. The ailments that affect the culture leads to low productivity as most of the people are on sick beds, this also changes the financial status of the society as most of the income that is available, instead of going into productive activities, it is diverted to seek medical attention and medication. A tax levied on sugar would limit people from the consumption and the funds obtained from the levies collected are used in the improvement of the health facilities. The argument on the tax on sugar continues to trigger different reactions from different t individuals in the society, with some arguing that the tax is regressive and is meant to humiliate the low income earners. This paper aims at analyzing both the negative and the positive effects of imposing a tax on sugar and other beverages that use sugar as a raw product and give its recommendation on this matter.

Obesity refers to a situation where a person has a high accumulation of body fats due to consumption of unhealthy foods and products. There is a clear distinction of being obese and overweight, while obesity refers to the accumulation of fats, being overweight on the other hand refers to weighing too much over the recommended weight. The weight may be as a result of having heavy bones, body water or muscle. The two cases, however, refers to the same condition of a person weighing more than the healthy recommended weight based on their heights. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle by watching on what we intake as well as living an active lifestyle. Sugar is seen to be one of the contributing factors that lead to obesity. BMI is used to define whether a person is obese or not. The BMI is calculated by taking the weight and dividing it by the height per square meter. The calculation of the BMI range is as follows;

18.5 Or less= Underweight

18.5-24.99 = Healthy weight

25-29.99 = Overweight

30 or more= Obese.

Series of researchers have been carried out to identify the causes and the risks that associated with obesity and how to manage weight loss has been carried out. There is a general acceptance that excessive consumption of energy leads to increased body weight. There ought to be a balance between the calorie intake and how much a persons body can burn. Obesity is as a result of different factors; some people carry the genetics of their parents if any of them is obese. Also, there is assumed alteration of hormones that are responsible for the regulation of accumulation of body fats. Also, there are others who are overweight as a result of overeating, others due to consumption of foods that are high in simple carbohydrates, even physical inactivity of a person can also lead to a person being obese. However, as much as all these factors are seen to cause obesity, sugars are seen to constitute most of the food products that are consumed daily by individuals. It is at this point that researchers are carried out to ascertain its contribution

How does sugar cause obesity?

Intake of different foods has different effects on the body; sugar is known for its fattening nature. Sugar constitutes of two molecules namely; glucose and fructose molecules. Glucose is very crucial in the metabolism process of the body. Glucose is in constant production in the shape by body cells, and a continuous reservoir is maintained in the bloodstream. If there is no direct intake of glucose into our institutions, it produces the glucose from fats and proteins.

However, fructose is the exact opposite of glucose. It is not a natural component of metabolism, and it is not produced by the human bodies. When we take large quantities of sugar, most of the fructose is metabolized by the liver and fats are provided in this process. The lipids are then secreted into the bloodstream.

Consumption of sugar and sweetened beverages are a major contributing factor of ailments like diabetes, obesity and other chronical diseases. Taxation of sugar is recommended to regulate the consumption of sugar, and this will ultimately lower the risks associated with the high use of sugar. Imposition on sugar has its merits and demerits that come along with it. In this discussion, having analyzed and confirmed by the fact that sugar indeed causes obesity, we will look at this review from different perspectives ranging from; economic validation, both positive and negative effects of the regulation.

Economic justification

An argument by this regulation will result in less than the possible production and consumption. Several market failures are associated with this provision, the primary challenge being the fact that the consumers are not able to comprehensively understand how the use of this product leads to risks in their health and therefore the implementation of this governing strategy is faced with lots of opposition from the general public. The other challenge is the broad marketing strategy by the producing firms that will tend to counter the harms of the sugar commodity and do a full advertisement o its usage. The other distortion that is likely to be experienced is the fact that most of the consumers consider the satisfaction that they acquire from a product without paying much attention to the long-term consequences. An evaluation of the economic benefit and health benefit of this product indicates that the costs that are incurred as a result of disorders like obesity are far much higher than the benefits. It is therefore essential to formulate rules that will govern and regulate the consumption of this product.

Revenue generating potential

The revenue that generates from the tax on sugar will be diverted to other reasonable activities like nutrition support of childhood programs, to carry out prevention of obesity programs and also to meet the needs that are not addressed by the current revenue generated. The government will, therefore, make additional revenue. However, it can also be argued that people who are employed in the sugar industry are likely to lose their jobs and thus the income earning capacity of the general population will be affected adversely.

Objections and industry reaction to the sugar tax. The tax on sugar will be relapsing. This regulation is expected to be challenged in a jury citing issues of loss of jobs. However, basing the argument on the long-term outcome of the c...

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