JavaScript Required

The P4H website is designed to perform best with Javascript enabled. Please enable it in your browser. If you need help with this, check out

Experts call for higher sugar taxes - P4H Network

Experts call for higher sugar taxes

Sugar-laden drinks are linked to obesity and other chronic illnesses. Many countries have implemented sugar taxes on soft drinks, but the WHO says the levels are too low to make a significant difference.

The Guardian article titled The cost of dealing with disease is growing all the time’: why experts think sugar taxes should be far higher explores the effectiveness of sugar taxes in improving public health. The consumption of sugar-laden drinks has been linked to obesity and other chronic illnesses. While many countries have implemented sugar taxes on soft drinks, the World Health Organization (WHO) argues that these taxes are set too low to have a substantial impact.

South Africa is mentioned as an example of a country that has implemented a sugar tax. The tax targets sugary drinks and has resulted in a significant decrease in sugary drink purchases, particularly among low-income households. However, the initial proposal for a 20% tax was lowered to 11% due to pressure from the food industry.

Public health experts have proposed expanding sugar taxes to encompass a wider range of unhealthy foods. Sugar taxes on sugary drinks could generate significant revenue for governments. This revenue could then be used to fund public health initiatives. However, the food industry has lobbied against sugar taxes, making it challenging for governments to implement them.

Latin American countries have been at the forefront of implementing broad-scoping taxes on unhealthy foods, not just those high in sugar. While food taxes are a valuable tool, they are not a cure-all for obesity and chronic illnesses. Additional measures are needed, such as restrictions on unhealthy food advertising and making healthy foods more affordable for low-income families. The article also calls for clearer labelling of ingredients, particularly artificial sweeteners, due to emerging concerns about their health impact.