Objective: To examine the effects on consumption and risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) of the Danish fat tax, effective from October 2011 to January 2013.
Methods: We used comprehensive retail outlet data on the sale of twelve foodstuff categories targeted by the fat tax. Data covered January 2010 to July 2013. IHD risk was assessed by modelling first the effect of changes in intake of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fat and dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol and subsequently modelling the resulting changes in risk of IHD using two different methods.
Results: The total sale of the included foodstuffs decreased by 0.9%. The fat tax was associated with marginal changes in population risk of IHD. One estimate suggests an increased population risk of IHD by 0.2% and the other estimate suggests that the risk of IHD decreased by 0.3%.
Conclusions: The Danish fat tax had a marginal effect on population consumption of fat and risk of IHD. Fat taxes have to be carefully designed to prevent possible adverse effects from outweighing its beneficial effects on health outcomes. Policymakers must therefore be more ambitious in relation to food taxes, e.g. by implementing more comprehensive tax-subsidy schemes.
Keywords: Consumption; Fat tax; IHD.
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