Tax and Pricing Policies Spur Healthier Eating

Correlation Between Diet and Food Costs


A meta-study from Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts, documents a revealing relationship between diet and food prices. The researchers found that taxation of unhealthy foods and price reductions of healthy foods help shift consumers to healthier purchases.

They reviewed data from 11 studies on the impact of adding tariffs to unhealthy foods that lead to higher prices and 19 studies that examined the effects on the demand of reducing the prices of healthy foods. They discovered that consumers purchased 14 percent more fruits and vegetables when prices were reduced by 10 percent. Other healthy food price reductions produced similar results, with a 16 percent increase in consumption with each 10 percent price drop.

The researchers examined the impact of increases in the price of sugary drinks and fast foods. Following 10 percent price hikes, consumption of these items decreased by 7 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

“The global food system is exacting a staggering toll on human health, and this is very costly, both in terms of real healthcare expenses and lost productivity,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, senior author of the meta-study and dean of the university’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “Our findings suggest that subsidies and taxes are a highly effective tool for normalizing the price of foods toward their true societal cost. This will both prevent disease and reduce spiraling healthcare costs, which are causing a tremendous strain on both private businesses and government budgets.”

This article appears in the July 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Leafy Greens Lower Risk for Heart Disease

Teenagers that eat few leafy greens are at triple the risk for enlargement of the heart’s left ventricle, reducing blood pumping volumes, than teens that eat greens.

Physical Activity Deters Alzheimer's

Walking, dancing, gardening and other physical activities significantly improve brain volume and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Gooseberries are Good for the Gut

Malaysian subjects with gastrointestinal problems had less pain, vomiting and sleep loss when receiving an ayurvedic remedy known as Indian gooseberry.

Saunas Lower Blood Pressure

Four to seven saunas a week halved high blood pressure risk in a study of 1,621 Finnish men.

Positive Outlook Powers Osteoarthritis Patients

People with osteoarthritis that wake up feeling enthusiastic about getting things done in their day end up exercising more and feeling less plagued by symptoms.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

Left untreated, periodontal disease not only puts a pet at risk for pain, infection and tooth loss but it can also cause damage to the heart, kidneys and liver.

Pick Me Up Herbs

There are several herbs which restore the body and replenish the nervous system. Take advantage of these herbal allies, especially in the cold winter months, when our bodies are ready to receive yin nourishment.

Flu Epidemic and the Immune System

While exposure to bugs can’t always be avoided, much can be done to boost the immune system to lessen their impact and potentially save lives.

Benefits of Micro-Biome Restorative Therapy For Pets

Like humans, a companion animal may struggle with gastrointestinal issues, allergies and a weakened immune system after years of exposure to antibiotics, other drugs, environmental chemicals and poor diet.

Workshop on Natural Approaches to Mental Health

Phyllis Light, the legendary master herbalist from Alabama, will be teaching a two-day workshop, Natural Approaches to Major Mental Health Issues.

Sage Plant-Powered Health Now Offering Plant-Based Tours to Italy

Tracie Hines, founder of Sage Plant-Powered Health, is leading two Inspired in Italy tours from September 21 to 28 (ladies only) and October 4 to 11 (couples/singles).