Could targeted food taxes improve health?

Oliver Mytton, Alastair Gray, Mike Rayner, Harry Rutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 134 Citations

Abstract

Objective: To examine the effects on nutrition, health and expenditure of extending value added tax (VAT) to a wider range of foods in the UK.
Method: A model based on consumption data and elasticity values was constructed to predict the effects of extending VAT to certain categories of food. The resulting changes in demand, expenditure, nutrition and health were estimated. Three different tax regimens were examined: (1) taxing the principal sources of dietary saturated fat; (2) taxing foods defined as unhealthy by the SSCg3d nutrient scoring system; and (3) taxing foods in order to obtain the best health outcome.
Data: Consumption patterns and elasticity data were taken from the National Food Survey of Great Britain. The health effects of changing salt and fat intake were from previous meta-analyses.
Results: (1) Taxing only the principal sources of dietary saturated fat is unlikely to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease because the reduction in saturated fat is offset by a rise in salt consumption. (2) Taxing unhealthy foods, defined by SSCg3d score, might avert around 2300 deaths per annum, primarily by reducing salt intake. (3) Taxing a wider range of foods could avert up to 3200 cardiovascular deaths in the UK per annum (a 1.7% reduction).
Conclusions: Taxing foodstuffs can have unpredictable health effects if cross-elasticities of demand are ignored. A carefully targeted fat tax could produce modest but meaningful changes in food consumption and a reduction in cardiovascular disease.
LanguageEnglish
Pages689-694
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Epidemiology & Community Health
Volume61
Issue number8
Early online date13 Jul 2007
DOIs
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jul 2007

Fingerprint

Taxes
Food
Health
Elasticity
Salts
Dietary Fats
Fats
Health Expenditures
Cardiovascular Diseases
Meta-Analysis
Incidence

Cite this

Could targeted food taxes improve health? / Mytton, Oliver; Gray, Alastair; Rayner, Mike; Rutter, Harry.

In: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, Vol. 61, No. 8, 13.07.2007, p. 689-694.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mytton, Oliver ; Gray, Alastair ; Rayner, Mike ; Rutter, Harry. / Could targeted food taxes improve health?. In: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 2007 ; Vol. 61, No. 8. pp. 689-694.
@article{cd9ba2aa74ad4f8cb36793032aa74100,
title = "Could targeted food taxes improve health?",
abstract = "Objective: To examine the effects on nutrition, health and expenditure of extending value added tax (VAT) to a wider range of foods in the UK.Method: A model based on consumption data and elasticity values was constructed to predict the effects of extending VAT to certain categories of food. The resulting changes in demand, expenditure, nutrition and health were estimated. Three different tax regimens were examined: (1) taxing the principal sources of dietary saturated fat; (2) taxing foods defined as unhealthy by the SSCg3d nutrient scoring system; and (3) taxing foods in order to obtain the best health outcome.Data: Consumption patterns and elasticity data were taken from the National Food Survey of Great Britain. The health effects of changing salt and fat intake were from previous meta-analyses.Results: (1) Taxing only the principal sources of dietary saturated fat is unlikely to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease because the reduction in saturated fat is offset by a rise in salt consumption. (2) Taxing unhealthy foods, defined by SSCg3d score, might avert around 2300 deaths per annum, primarily by reducing salt intake. (3) Taxing a wider range of foods could avert up to 3200 cardiovascular deaths in the UK per annum (a 1.7{\%} reduction).Conclusions: Taxing foodstuffs can have unpredictable health effects if cross-elasticities of demand are ignored. A carefully targeted fat tax could produce modest but meaningful changes in food consumption and a reduction in cardiovascular disease.",
author = "Oliver Mytton and Alastair Gray and Mike Rayner and Harry Rutter",
year = "2007",
month = "7",
day = "13",
doi = "10.1136/jech.2006.047746",
language = "English",
volume = "61",
pages = "689--694",
journal = "Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health",
issn = "0143-005X",
publisher = "BMJ Publishing Group Ltd",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Could targeted food taxes improve health?

AU - Mytton, Oliver

AU - Gray, Alastair

AU - Rayner, Mike

AU - Rutter, Harry

PY - 2007/7/13

Y1 - 2007/7/13

N2 - Objective: To examine the effects on nutrition, health and expenditure of extending value added tax (VAT) to a wider range of foods in the UK.Method: A model based on consumption data and elasticity values was constructed to predict the effects of extending VAT to certain categories of food. The resulting changes in demand, expenditure, nutrition and health were estimated. Three different tax regimens were examined: (1) taxing the principal sources of dietary saturated fat; (2) taxing foods defined as unhealthy by the SSCg3d nutrient scoring system; and (3) taxing foods in order to obtain the best health outcome.Data: Consumption patterns and elasticity data were taken from the National Food Survey of Great Britain. The health effects of changing salt and fat intake were from previous meta-analyses.Results: (1) Taxing only the principal sources of dietary saturated fat is unlikely to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease because the reduction in saturated fat is offset by a rise in salt consumption. (2) Taxing unhealthy foods, defined by SSCg3d score, might avert around 2300 deaths per annum, primarily by reducing salt intake. (3) Taxing a wider range of foods could avert up to 3200 cardiovascular deaths in the UK per annum (a 1.7% reduction).Conclusions: Taxing foodstuffs can have unpredictable health effects if cross-elasticities of demand are ignored. A carefully targeted fat tax could produce modest but meaningful changes in food consumption and a reduction in cardiovascular disease.

AB - Objective: To examine the effects on nutrition, health and expenditure of extending value added tax (VAT) to a wider range of foods in the UK.Method: A model based on consumption data and elasticity values was constructed to predict the effects of extending VAT to certain categories of food. The resulting changes in demand, expenditure, nutrition and health were estimated. Three different tax regimens were examined: (1) taxing the principal sources of dietary saturated fat; (2) taxing foods defined as unhealthy by the SSCg3d nutrient scoring system; and (3) taxing foods in order to obtain the best health outcome.Data: Consumption patterns and elasticity data were taken from the National Food Survey of Great Britain. The health effects of changing salt and fat intake were from previous meta-analyses.Results: (1) Taxing only the principal sources of dietary saturated fat is unlikely to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease because the reduction in saturated fat is offset by a rise in salt consumption. (2) Taxing unhealthy foods, defined by SSCg3d score, might avert around 2300 deaths per annum, primarily by reducing salt intake. (3) Taxing a wider range of foods could avert up to 3200 cardiovascular deaths in the UK per annum (a 1.7% reduction).Conclusions: Taxing foodstuffs can have unpredictable health effects if cross-elasticities of demand are ignored. A carefully targeted fat tax could produce modest but meaningful changes in food consumption and a reduction in cardiovascular disease.

U2 - 10.1136/jech.2006.047746

DO - 10.1136/jech.2006.047746

M3 - Article

VL - 61

SP - 689

EP - 694

JO - Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

T2 - Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

JF - Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

SN - 0143-005X

IS - 8

ER -