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Study: Soda tax doesn't help fight obesity

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Slapping a tax on soda will not make people slim down.

So says a new study from UW-Madison. Lead researcher Jason Fletcher said soda taxes in places like Arkansas and Ohio caused people to drink less. But it did not affect their total intake of calories, and therefore did not have a direct impact on obesity.

The last time Wisconsin considered a pop tax was in 2007 -- two cents a can to help dentists treat low income children. That idea never went anywhere in the state Legislature. Neither did a soda tax in 2006 proposed by the Wisconsin Dental Association to increase Medicaid reimbursements for its member dentists.

A federal tax was discussed in 2010, but was soon buried.

Congress and other states proposed soda taxes in the name of fighting obesity. But Dr. Zorba Pastor of the Dean Clinic in Oregon -- south of Madison -- says youngsters will just drink other things with heavy sugar, like orange and grape juices.

Pastor tells WISC-TV in Madison that obesity has actually gone up since diet soda was introduced, and there's something in soda that gets people hooked on it.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)