For the next 10 years, the national 10% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in Mexico is projected to have a substantial impact on the burden of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality, according to a modeling study published in PLOS Medicine.
The study, conducted by Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues, indicates that 983 million international dollars in healthcare costs may be saved from the prevention of diabetes cases alone.
‘The tax imposed on sugar sweetened beverages will likely prevent approximately 189,300 new cases of type 2 diabetes, 20,400 incident strokes and heart attacks, and 18,900 deaths over 10 years.’
The prevalence of obesity and diabetes in Mexico has risen dramatically in recent years, and the rate of diabetes in Mexico currently ranks among the highest in the world. In order to address the obesity and diabetes epidemic, the Mexican government implemented a 10% excise tax on SSBs in 2014.
In this study, the researchers developed a Mexico version of an established model of cardiovascular disease in the US (the Cardiovascular Disease Policy Model) and used survey data on household consumption in Mexico since the tax implementation to project health and healthcare cost impact in the next 10 years.
The conclusions are limited by the assumptions in the model, and some epidemiologic parameters were drawn from populations outside Mexico. However, the findings suggest that, if consumption trends continue, the tax may confer significant benefits to people living in Mexico. The authors state, "[t]he SSB tax may be an important component in a multifaceted strategy by the Mexican government to curb the obesity and diabetes epidemic in Mexico."