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Associations between Soda Prices and Intake: Evidence from 24-h dietary recall data

Wada R, Han E and Powell LM. Food Policy. 2015. [E-pub ahead of print]

Although taxes on regular soda and other forms of sugar-sweetened beverages have been proposed as a disincentive to consumption, little is known about the association of soda price with soda intake status or the potential heterogeneity across sub-population groups based on age. Such estimates cannot be obtained from aggregated sales or household purchase data because they do not break down soda intake by individuals. To fill this gap in the literature, the 24-h dietary recall data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1999–2008) have been merged with soda prices from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). The variation in soda prices across zip codes and over the years were used to identify the associations of soda prices with the prevalence of sugar-sweetened regular soda intake and caloric intake from soda for children (N = 8032), adolescents (N = 6501), and adults (N = 14,141). The analyses were further stratified by gender, race/ethnicity and income-based socioeconomic status. A 10% higher soda price was associated with lower prevalence (i.e., probability) of regular soda intake by 3.4%, 4.6% and 4.0% for children, adolescents, and adults, respectively, and lower caloric intake from soda by 8.1%, 5.2%, and 6.6%, respectively. The strongest negative associations between soda prices and regular soda intake were found among children and adults; the weakest negative associations were found among minority children and adolescents. By using individual-level data from the 24-h dietary recall data, we identified substantial heterogeneity in the association of soda price with regular soda intake. Our results add to the growing literature suggesting that higher soda prices are associated with reduced regular soda intake.

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