Foolproof way to push for healthy choices

June 28, 2018

When the Philadelphia 76ers cruised to a 130-103 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their best-of-seven playoff series this year, and the Cleveland Cavs were struggling to reach their potential, Dr. Mike looked around for a possible reason for the discrepancy in their performances. One theory he came up with: Philly has a soda tax that’s raised prices by around 20 percent and slashed soda sales. His plea: Cleveland, tax sodas — our teams (especially the Browns) need all the help they can get!

A study out of Drexel University published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that when sugary sodas started being taxed, Philadelphia residents (players, too, we bet) were not only 40 percent less likely to report drinking them daily, they were 64 percent less likely to down energy drinks, and 58 percent more likely to drink bottled water.

Taxes on other health bombs also work. In New York City, where a pack of cigarettes can cost $15, smoking rates are among the lowest in the nation at 14.4 percent. And several studies indicate that in high-risk populations, taxes of 20 percent or more on junk food help curb obesity.

There’s ample evidence that you pay a high price for indulging in sugar-added beverages, tobacco and junk food: crippling chronic diseases and premature death. Tell your state and local government that you’re for higher taxes on food, drinks and products that damage lives and cost the public billions of dollars in unnecessary health care bills.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.