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Toennies, Thaddaus; Heidemann, Christin; Paprott, Rebecca; Seidel-Jacobs, Esther; Scheidt-Nave, Christa; Brinks, Ralph and Hoyer, Annika (2021): Estimating the impact of tax policy interventions on the projected number and prevalence of adults with type 2 diabetes in Germany between 2020 and 2040. In: BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, Vol. 9, No. 1, e001813

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Introduction As a population-wide intervention, it has been proposed to raise taxes on unhealthy products to prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes. In this study, we aimed to estimate the effect of tax policy interventions in 2020 on the projected prevalence and number of people with type 2 diabetes in the German adult population in 2040. Research design and methods We applied an illness-death model and the German Diabetes Risk Score (GDRS) to project the prevalence and number of adults with type 2 diabetes in Germany under a base case scenario and under a tax policy intervention scenario. For the base case scenario, we assumed constant age-specific incidence rates between 2020 and 2040. For the intervention scenario, we assumed a 50% price increase for sugar-sweetened beverages, tobacco and red meat products in the year 2020. Based on price elasticities, we estimated the impact on these risk factors alone and in combination, and calculated subsequent reductions in the age-specific and sex-specific GDRS. These reductions were used to determine reductions in the incidence rate and prevalence using a partial differential equation. Results Compared with the base case scenario, combined tax interventions in 2020 resulted in a 0.95 percentage point decrease in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (16.2% vs 17.1%), which corresponds to 640 000 fewer prevalent cases of type 2 diabetes and a relative reduction by 6%. Conclusions Taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages, tobacco products and red meat by 50% modestly lowered the projected number and prevalence of adults with type 2 diabetes in Germany in 2040. Raising taxes on unhealthy products as a stand-alone measure may not be enough to attenuate the future rise of type 2 diabetes.

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