A major report published by the United Nations overnight had the dramatic headline that diabetes cases have increased fourfold over the last 25 years; an astonishing increase put down largely to growing consumption of food and beverages high in sugar.
The UK has recently introduced a soft drink tax designed to reduce rates of childhood obesity. This has been introduced after the success of a similar taxes in Mexico, Hungary, France, Chile, Dominca and the Californian city of Berkely. In Mexico, purchases of taxed drinks have declined over the past two years (up to 12%) with higher reductions (up to 17%) in poorer households.
Australia following the lead of other countries to investigate a sugar tax in the short term has two chances: none and Buckley's and Buckley just left town. In 2013 we sought to investigate the use of taxation to reduce childhood obesity through a grant from the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (ANPHA), the agency whose remit was to research policy around reducing obesity and alcohol and tobacco harm. The purpose of doing this research was to be able to collect evidence in order to provide informed debate on the use of food and drink taxation in health policy in Australia something you might think policy makers would welcome.
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In a study between the Centre for Applied Health Economics (CAHE) and the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield, Haitham Tuffaha and co-authors applied a nonparametric regression approach to calculate value of information in economic models. The study demonstrated the value of nonparametric regression as an accurate, practical, and fast approach to calculate the expected value of sample information (EVSI), which is a useful measure to inform adoption decisions, optimise trial design and set research priority. The study has been published in Value in Health.
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