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“Soda tax” could help tackle obesity, says US director of public health

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3176 (Published 04 August 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3176
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

    The direct medical costs of treating obesity rose to nearly 10% of all spending on health care in the United States, says a study released on 27 July at the “Weight of the Nation” conference on obesity and its control in Washington, DC.

    The prevalence of obesity rose by 37% between 1998 and 2006, said Eric Finkelstein, lead author of the analysis. Over the same period expenditure related to obesity doubled, from $74bn (£44bn; €51bn) to $147bn (with both numbers adjusted for inflation to 2008 dollars). He said, “Prescription drug expenditures are a significant driver of that cost.”

    The average expenditure per obese person rose by only 11%, while …

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