Health, News

Mexico Puts A Tax On Sugary Soft Drinks

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Soda display at a grocery store. Image: Marlith
Soda display at a grocery store. Image: Marlith

The people of Mexico drink more soft drinks than people in any other country in the world.

Last fall, the government of Mexico made a decision to increase the taxes on soft drinks with sugar.

They said that soft drinks help to create health problems like obesity and diabetes. That tax is starting now.

In the past, Mexico has done other things to reduce sugar and fat in schools, like removing unhealthy foods from vending machines.

But some people say this kind of tax to make people healthier doesn’t work.

In 2011 another country, Denmark, put a tax on fatty foods for the same reason: to improve people’s health. But they removed it a year later because it caused more problems than it solved.

One problem was that the higher tax meant the food was more expensive to make, so companies were not able to pay as many workers and had to let them go.

Another effort to try to make people healthier happened in Britain. Some people were offered money to eat healthier foods and to exercise.

According to scientists who ran the program, the people continued to eat healthier and exercise even after they stopped getting money.

The President of Mexico has said that the government will use the money it raises from the new soft drink tax to provide clean drinking water in schools that don’t have good water.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Do you think this new tax will make a difference in Mexico? Do you think people will drink less sugary soda because it is more expensive?

If all junk food was more expensive, do you think you and your family would buy and consume less of it? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
You have probably heard about tax when you have been shopping, but have you every thought about how taxes work?

Try to answer the following questions using your own experiences and the world around you:
1. What is a tax?
2. Why do taxes exist?
3. When do people have to pay taxes?
4. How will the new tax on soft drinks work in Mexico?

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them  (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Synonym
Synonyms are words that sound different but they mean the same thing. For example, ‘soft drinks’ are often referred to as ‘pop’ or ‘soda’. All of these words mean the same, but they sound different.

Think of a synonym for the following words:
1. happy
2. quickly
3. huge
4. street
5. ill