North Central New Jersey Edition
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

Tax and Pricing Policies Spur Healthier Eating

Correlation Between Diet and Food Costs

Stokkete/Shutterstock.com

A meta-study from Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts, documents a revealing relationship between diet and food prices. The researchers found that taxation of unhealthy foods and price reductions of healthy foods help shift consumers to healthier purchases.

They reviewed data from 11 studies on the impact of adding tariffs to unhealthy foods that lead to higher prices and 19 studies that examined the effects on the demand of reducing the prices of healthy foods. They discovered that consumers purchased 14 percent more fruits and vegetables when prices were reduced by 10 percent. Other healthy food price reductions produced similar results, with a 16 percent increase in consumption with each 10 percent price drop.

The researchers examined the impact of increases in the price of sugary drinks and fast foods. Following 10 percent price hikes, consumption of these items decreased by 7 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

“The global food system is exacting a staggering toll on human health, and this is very costly, both in terms of real healthcare expenses and lost productivity,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, senior author of the meta-study and dean of the university’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “Our findings suggest that subsidies and taxes are a highly effective tool for normalizing the price of foods toward their true societal cost. This will both prevent disease and reduce spiraling healthcare costs, which are causing a tremendous strain on both private businesses and government budgets.”


This article appears in the July 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Gardening Asanas

Overdoing garden work can produce aches and pains, but by integrating yoga positions while planting and weeding, we can emerge pain-free after hours of being on our knees and bending.

Indigenous Wisdom

Indigenous elders from around the world meet together to pass down four sacred gifts of wisdom we would do well to heed.

Nature’s Remedies

Creatures in the wild ranging from microbes to elephants cope with parasites, pests and pain using natural substances; it all suggests why our preserving the natural world is good for us, too.

Healthy Climate, Healthy People

As the Earth slowly heats up, we’re being affected by rising allergens, disaster-related trauma and the increase in insects carrying dangerous diseases.

Whole Grains Help Us Eat Less

When overweight Danes exchanged refined grain products such as white bread and pasta for whole-grain equivalents, they tended to feel full sooner, eat less, lose weight and have less inflammation.

Add your comment: