Evaluation of 2014 SSB & Non-Essential Foods Taxes in Mexico

The United States and Mexico face very similar problems – very high levels of child obesity and increasing rates of type 2 diabetes among children. The government of Mexico has been faced with the enormous fiscal and health consequences of obesity and made major regulatory changes. These include taxing two components of the diet, Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) and non-essential foods (unhealthy food with excessive saturated fat, sugar and/or sodium), to provide important new revenue sources and reduce intake of SSBs and unhealthy food with excessive saturated fat, sugar and/or sodium.

On January 1, 2014, the Mexican government began instituting two taxes. One is a 1 peso per liter (effectively slightly less than 10%) excise tax on any (non-alcoholic and non-dairy) beverage with added sugar. A significant proportion of the SSB tax will be used to provide potable water in schools. Concurrently, the government instituted an 8% sales tax on a wide range of non-essential foods that are foods high in sodium, added sugars, or solid fats, which the law terms “junk food”. These include all salty and other snacks, confectionery products, chocolate and products derived from cacao, puddings and flans, candy, peanut butter and hazelnut butter, ice cream, and popsicles.

Our UNCFRP team is partnering with the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico (INSP) in Cuernavaca and the Center for Nutrition and Health Research Center (CINyS) to undertake a wide ranging evaluation of the impact of these taxes and other related changes, including a recent restriction of the hours that both SSBs and non-essential foods can be advertised to preschoolers and school aged children (effective July 15, 2014). With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies Obesity Prevention Program and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the two research groups will evaluate the Mexican taxes and understand how they change food and beverage prices and purchase patterns, as well as understand many interim marketing and other changes. In addition, it plans to re-interview households who previously participated in ENSANUT 2012 (Mexico’s National Nutrition Survey) to measure changes in individual dietary intake, anthropometry, and fasting blood to understand the health impact of these taxes.

Evaluation Advisory Committee (EAC) Members

The Evaluation Advisory Committee (EAC) members assist in the design and review of the overall evaluation strategy, methods, analyses, and results and review annual reports and manuscripts for peer-reviewed publications.

Juan Rivera
Health and Nutrition Research Center
National Institute of Public Health, Mexico (INSP)

Barry M. Popkin
W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition
Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health
Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina

International Distinguished Members
Frank Chaloupka
Distinguished Professor of Economics
Institute for Health Research and Policy
University of Illinois at Chicago

Walter Willett
The Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition
Chair, Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health
Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Harold Alderman, Senior Research Staff
Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division
International Food Policy Research Institute

Corinna Hawkes
Head of Policy and Public Affairs
World Cancer Research Fund International

Sinne Smed
Associate Professor
Department of Food and Resource Economics
Section for Environment and Natural Resources
University of Copenhagen

Shiriki Kumanyika
Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology
Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Mary Story
Community & Family Medicine and Global Health
Duke Global Health Institute

Mexican Distinguished Members
Carlos Aguilar Salinas
Endocrinology and Metabolism Department
National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador

Gonzalo Hernández Licona
Executive Secretary
National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL)

Margarita Flores de la Vega
University Program of Development Studies (PUED)
from the Mexican National Autonomous University (UNAM)

Luis Rubalcava
Area Director
Spectron Desarrollo, SC

INSP and UNC Senior Research Staff for Evaluation
Arantxa Colchero Aragones
Center for Health Systems Research/Health Economics Unit

Juan Carlos Salgado
Center for Health Systems Research/Health Economics Unit

Anabel Velasco Bernal
Health and Nutrition Research Center

Carolina Batis
Health and Nutrition Research Center

Shu Wen Ng
Department of Nutrition
School of Public Health
Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina

Mexico EAC Sept 2014

Pictured above are members of the Evaluation Advisory Committee in September 2014.

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