The Internet, Facebook and Twitter are ablaze with articles claiming that researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have proven that soda taxes don't reduce obesity.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
Actually, despite using data that is eight years old and evaluating extremely weak soda taxes of a mere 3 percent, the researchers found that soda taxes "have a statistically significant impact on behavior and weight," meaning people consumed less soda and lost weight. It's just that the impact was small.
The authors proved that weak soda taxes without any public health campaign accompanying them of any sort led to significant decreases in soda consumption and significant decreases in weight, albeit of small magnitude.
How in the world this story got spun into evidence against soda taxes is beyond me.
Leaving the Ivory Tower Academy for a moment and looking to the real world for evidence, we find that Mexico, at a mere peso (8 cents) per liter, has shown a decrease of 6 percent in consumption during the first month of their historic soda tax. Soda taxes seem to be working in both theory and in practice.
San Francisco's proposed soda tax is more than four times larger than Mexico's and will likely lead to a greater decrease in consumption.
Don't be misled by false claims. Soda taxes can work!