The effect of fiscal policy on diet, obesity and chronic disease : a systematic review

Thow, Anne Marie, Jan, Stephen, Leeder, Stephen and Swinburn, Boyd 2010, The effect of fiscal policy on diet, obesity and chronic disease : a systematic review, World Health Organization Bulletin, no. 88, pp. 609-614, doi: 10.2471/BLT.09.070987.

Attached Files
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads

Title The effect of fiscal policy on diet, obesity and chronic disease : a systematic review
Author(s) Thow, Anne Marie
Jan, Stephen
Leeder, Stephen
Swinburn, Boyd
Journal name World Health Organization Bulletin
Issue number 88
Start page 609
End page 614
Total pages 6
Publisher World Health Organization
Place of publication Geneva, Switzerland
Publication date 2010-02-22
ISSN 0042-9686
Summary Objective To assess the effect of food taxes and subsidies on diet, body weight and health through a systematic review of the literature.

Methods We searched the English-language published and grey literature for empirical and modelling studies on the effects of monetary subsidies or taxes levied on specific food products on consumption habits, body weight and chronic conditions. Empirical studies were dealing with an actual tax, while modelling studies predicted outcomes based on a hypothetical tax or subsidy.

Findings Twenty-four studies met the inclusion criteria: 13 were from the peer-reviewed literature and 11 were published on line. There were 8 empirical and 16 modelling studies. Nine studies assessed the impact of taxes on food consumption only, 5 on consumption and body weight, 4 on consumption and disease and 6 on body weight only. In general, taxes and subsidies influenced consumption in the desired direction, with larger taxes being associated with more significant changes in consumption, body weight and disease incidence. However, studies that focused on a single target food or nutrient may have overestimated the impact of taxes by failing to take into account shifts in consumption to other foods. The quality of the evidence was generally low. Almost all studies were conducted in high-income countries.

Conclusion Food taxes and subsidies have the potential to contribute to healthy consumption patterns at the population level. However, current evidence is generally of low quality and the empirical evaluation of existing taxes is a research priority, along with research into the effectiveness and differential impact of food taxes in developing countries.
Language eng
DOI 10.2471/BLT.09.070987
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920207 Health Policy Economic Outcomes
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Public Health Research, Evaluation, and Policy Cluster
Connect to link resolver
Unless expressly stated otherwise, the copyright for items in DRO is owned by the author, with all rights reserved.

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 122 times in TR Web of Science
Scopus Citation Count Cited 139 times in Scopus
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Access Statistics: 586 Abstract Views, 2 File Downloads  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Tue, 10 Aug 2010, 16:29:22 EST by Amy Mcgloin

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact