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Mexico's sugar-sweetened beverage tax may reduce diabetes, CVD, and costs over 10 years


The national 10% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in Mexico is projected to have a substantial impact on the burden of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality over the next 10 years, according to a modeling study published in PLOS Medicine. The study, conducted by Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues, indicates that 983 million international dollars in healthcare costs may be saved from the prevention of diabetes cases alone.

The prevalence of obesity and diabetes in Mexico has risen dramatically in recent years, and the rate of diabetes in Mexico currently ranks among the highest in the world. In order to address the obesity and diabetes epidemic, the Mexican government implemented a 10% excise tax on SSBs in 2014. In this study, the researchers developed a Mexico version of an established model of cardiovascular disease in the US (the Cardiovascular Disease Policy Model) and used survey data on household consumption in Mexico since the tax implementation to project health and healthcare cost impact in the next 10 years. The researchers found that the 10% tax on SSBs will likely prevent approximately 189,300 (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 155,400-218,100) new cases of type 2 diabetes, 20,400 (95% UI 17,200-24,000) incident strokes and heart attacks, and 18,900 (95% UI 15,500-22,700) deaths over 10 years among adults 35-94 years of age, and is expected to result in 983 million international dollars (95% UI $769 million-$1,173 million) in savings in healthcare costs due to prevention of diabetes cases.

The conclusions are limited by the assumptions in the model, and some epidemiologic parameters were drawn from populations outside Mexico. However, the findings suggest that, if consumption trends continue, the tax may confer significant benefits to people living in Mexico. The authors state, "[t]he SSB tax may be an important component in a multifaceted strategy by the Mexican government to curb the obesity and diabetes epidemic in Mexico."



Research reported in this publication was supported by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R03TW009061 (AF, KBD, SB) and by a Grant for Collaborative Projects from the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS) and the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) Mexico (KBD, SB). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests:

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Sánchez-Romero LM, Penko J, Coxson PG, Fernández A, Mason A, Moran AE, et al. (2016) Projected Impact of Mexico's Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Policy on Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease: A Modeling Study. PLoS Med 13(11): e1002158. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002158

Author Affiliations:

Center for Nutrition and Health Research, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America
UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, United States of America
Division of General Internal Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, United States of America
Center for Health Systems Research, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Department of Epidemiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, United States of America
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America


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