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Paying our way to a lighter future

The government is considering taxing fatty foods in order to reduce obesity. The BBC emphasise the increase of obese people in the last twenty years and that our country can not ignore this warning. A fatty good tax, is a (needed) wake up call and signal to society that change needs to happen, and soon. As quoted from the BBC article :

“Would putting up the price of junk food – with its high sugar and fat content – cut these rising obesity rates in the same way as a tax on cigarettes – vigorously contested by the tobacco industry at the time – has helped reduce smoking?”

Last night, Panorama aired a documentary, ‘Fat Tax’, with reporter Shelley Jofre, discussing the tax being enforced and the positive effects. As discussed by Private Healthcare the programme did not offer a new or fresh angle to obesity, however, it was informative but not necessarily inspiring for all viewers.

I think it is important to address the issue of obesity but there are a lot of unanswered questions with this approach. Who would decide what is ‘fatty food’ exactly? In order for effective taxing on ‘fatty foods’ the public and governing body would need to define what is ‘fatty food’. This term has been used continuously and repeatedly by media organisations and I for one feel it has lost a lot of value, content and effect. In a supermarket you may have heard something along these lines, “Oh no I am not eating that. That’s junk food. Yuk. It’s fatty food”. I feel there is a need to remind and update the meaning behind the phrase of ‘fatty food’ in order for us to progress as a healthy eating nation.

I feel this tax is forgetting a key aspect in battling obesity. Yes you guessed correctly. Exercise. We need to promote and encourage physical exercise in our lives and different lifestyles. Whether it is half an hours yoga in a morning, to participating in a particular sport, jogging every couple of nights, joining a club or society or attending a dance class. There needs to be more focus on media hype and publicity on the positive aspects on combatting obesity. Surely, a positive approach to such a negatively discussed issue would motivate people?

So don’t starve me of information now, as I need to know, would you pay a little bit extra for that one slice of chocolate cake? So rich, dark and velvety that simple melts on your tongue. A moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips. And also on the bank debt. Or would you (as they hope), seek a healthier alternative and a quick fix to a ‘better’ body?

See the full Panorama ‘Tax the Fat’ programme

  1. jean-philippe
    November 18, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    I don’t know enough what Europe is doing with their agriculture, but here in North America, we subsidize the content of junk food, so their price is artificially low – it’s nonsense to tax and subsidize the same thing.

    I don’t expect that happening, but if it was up to me, I would tax people based on how fat they are. The money could be used to help organic, local food to spread.

    • November 18, 2010 at 9:41 AM

      I agree, I think a different approach is needed. More emphasis on where to find and purchase local sources of food, whilst ensuring people are encouraged to participate in physical activity. A balance between diet and health needs to be established. As seen on programmes, such as Jamie Oliver, people are starting with the young (children) to ensure a healthier future for the nation. This is a good place to start πŸ™‚

  2. Stephen Mc Elligott
    November 27, 2010 at 12:29 AM

    I see it as just another way for the government to make money rather than spend it. Why not just ban obese food and be done with it?


    • jean-philippe
      November 27, 2010 at 2:17 AM

      Obese food? That leaves what? Celery and All-Bran?

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