Promoting healthy diets and preventing non-communicable diseases in Kenya through effective fiscal policy
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes are the leading cause of death globally. In the last decade, Kenya has observed a significant rise in obesity, a major NCD risk factor. According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, overweight and obesity among Kenyan women increased from 25% in 2009 to 33% in 2014. The World Health Organization recommends fiscal policy interventions, such as the cost-effective sugar-sweetened beverage tax, to prevent NCDs.
This project will use two main approaches to generate evidence on fiscal policy interventions for NCD prevention in Kenya. First, the project will quantify the consumption of various ultra-processed foods and explore their association with obesity, especially among Kenyan women. This is with a view to identifying the most obesogenic foods so they can be targeted by fiscal policies. The second approach uses econometric modelling techniques to generate evidence on the potential impact of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax on public health and government tax revenue in Kenya. There is evidence from other developing countries, such as Mexico and South Africa, that sugar-sweetened beverage taxes that raise prices by 20% can reduce consumption by approximately 20%, thus contributing to the prevention of obesity and NCDs.
This project will be funded through the Global Regulatory and Fiscal Capacity Building Program, a multi-agency parallel-funding partnership between IDRC, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the OPEC Fund for International Development, the International Development Law Organization, and the World Health Organization.