Modelling income group differences in the health and economic impacts of targeted food taxes and subsidies

Nnoaham, Kelechi E., Sacks, Gary, Rayner, Mike, Mytton, Oliver and Gray, Alastair 2009, Modelling income group differences in the health and economic impacts of targeted food taxes and subsidies, International journal of epidemiology, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 1324-1333, doi: 10.1093/ije/dyp214.

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Title Modelling income group differences in the health and economic impacts of targeted food taxes and subsidies
Author(s) Nnoaham, Kelechi E.
Sacks, GaryORCID iD for Sacks, Gary
Rayner, Mike
Mytton, Oliver
Gray, Alastair
Journal name International journal of epidemiology
Volume number 38
Issue number 5
Start page 1324
End page 1333
Total pages 10
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2009-10
ISSN 0300-5771
Keyword(s) junk-food tax
chronic disease prevention
fiscal policy
Summary Objective : To examine the effects, by income group, of targeted food taxes and subsidies on nutrition, health and expenditure in the UK.

Methods : A model based on consumption data and demand elasticity was constructed to predict the effects of four food taxation-subsidy regimens. Resulting changes in demand, expenditure, nutrition, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality were estimated.

Data : Expenditure data were taken from the Expenditure and Food Survey; estimates of price elasticities of demand for food were taken from a report based on the National Food Survey 1988–2000. Estimates of effect on CVD and cancer mortality of changing fat, salt, fruit and vegetable intake were taken from previous meta-analyses.

Results : (i) Taxing principal sources of dietary saturated fat is unlikely to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) or cancer mortality. (ii) Taxing ‘less healthy’ foods (defined by the WXYfm nutrient profiling model) could increase CVD and cancer deaths by 35–1300 yearly. (iii) Taxing ‘less healthy’ foods and subsidising fruits and vegetables by 17.5% could avert up to 2900 CVD and cancer deaths yearly. (iv) Taxing ‘less healthy’ foods and using all tax revenue to subsidize fruits and vegetables could avert up to 6400 CVD and cancer deaths yearly. Few obesity-related CVD deaths are averted by any of the regimens. All four regimens would be economically regressive and positive health effects will not necessarily be greater in lower-income groups where the need for dietary improvement is higher.

Conclusions : A targeted food tax combined with the appropriate subsidy on fruits and vegetables could reduce deaths from CVD and cancer.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/ije/dyp214
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2009
Copyright notice ©2009, The Authors
Persistent URL

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Public Health Research, Evaluation, and Policy Cluster
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