Do Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Help Reduce Child Obesity? A Look at Three Cities

Prepared for
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
sugar sweetened beverages


Policies that help ensure all children are at a healthy weight have received substantial policy attention in the past decade. At the same time, support has grown across the nation for taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages to help improve the public’s health and well-being.

This study is evaluating the implementation and impact of these taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages in Philadelphia and two other cities to be determined. The study focuses on children and families with a particular attention to children at the highest risk of childhood obesity, including African-American and Hispanic children and those living in lower-income urban communities. The research team is examining impacts of the tax on prices, purchases, and consumption. The goal is to provide a better understanding of the implementation and impact of these taxes in the United States.

Data collection includes a household survey as well as interviews with customers and observations in stores. This study builds on Mathematica’s work to expand the evidence base to understand the impact of policies on individuals and families at high risk of childhood obesity.