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The study, which is described in more detail here, followed over 5,000 people for a period of 20 years, tracking their food consumption, height, weight, and blood sugar levels. Researchers also tracked changes in food prices during this same period, and found that incremental increases in the prices of soda and delivery pizza were associated with incremental decreases in consumption of these items. For every 10% increase in cost, there was a 7% decrease in the number of soda calories consumed, and an 11.5% decrease in pizza calories consumed. Likewise, a one dollar increase in soda cost was associated with a decrease in overall calorie intake of 124 calories per day (on average), and a decrease in body weight (2.2 pounds on average). This was true even though the real cost of soda and delivery pizza actually decreased over the 20 year period when prices were adjusted for inflation.
Does this mean that we can (or should) use taxes and/or surcharges on junk food items to encourage people to use less them of them?
Using the numbers obtained in their study, the authors suggested that an 18% surcharge on soda and delivery pizza alone could reduce average daily calorie consumption by 56 calories per person per day, which would mean a weight loss of 5 pounds per person over a year. But I dont think things are quite that simple. As this article indicates, weight loss is a lot more complex than simple arithmetic, so you cant simply assume that a small reduction in calorie intake like 56 calories per day will translate into a predictable amount of weight loss over time for every individual. Or that every individual who drinks 100 calories of soda per day will gain 10 pounds every year. Therefore, predicting the actual effects of a junk food tax on rates of obesity and related health issues is pretty difficult.
But we do know from the real-world experience of taxing tobacco that this approach can significantly reduce use of the product and lead to better health for many people. And theres not much doubt that public health can benefit from using the funds raised by these taxes for various health promotion efforts, like promoting the use of regular water instead of soda or other caloric drinks, and healthier alternatives to fast foods, chips and cookies. Such efforts may at least help offset the social and individual effects of major advertising campaigns promoting fast food, soda, and junk foods, and provide the kind of knowledge people need to take more responsibility for their own choices and their own health.
There are lots of other questions involved in deciding whether a tax on certain foods and products is good public policy when it comes to combating the obesity epidemic and improving public health, especially when the products involved can be used safely by most people, in moderate quantities. Too much government interference in realms of personal choice is not a good idea. But at the same time, government policies (see Marion Nestles book or blog Food Politics if youre interested in the details) have always played a huge role in shaping our food industry, and maybe its time for government to start correcting some of the problems those policies have created.
What do you think?
To Encourage Healthy Eating, Higher Taxes Should Be Imposed on Soft Drinks and Junk Food. Do You Agree or Disagree.
613 WordsFeb 26th, 20133 Pages
To encourage healthy eating, higher taxes should be imposed on soft drinks and junk food. Do you agree or disagree.
Nowadays is getting more and more important to stay fit and healthy. There are a lot of negotiations about how to prevent junk food market. One of many possible solutions could be to impose higher taxes on soft drinks and junk food, what could encourage healthy eating. Although, from first sight, it can look like a good solution, but in this essay I am going to prove, that high taxes is not the best way, event, in my opinion, junk food must be replaced by healthy and home-made food.
Firs of all, in many countries the high cost of eating healthy food is often just an excuse for being overweight, especially by…show more content…
Several research studies have found that junk food can affect the brain almost the same way as nicotine or heroin. People get addicted to eating out, but they do not have to eat out because it is cheaper. That is why, in my opinion, imposing higher taxes on junk food would not prevent consumption of fast food and, even more, encourage healthy eating. People should, firstly, began to look after themselves, for example, eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods, do not starve themselves, maintain a healthy body weight, learn how to cook healthily, when dining out avoid fast food restaurants, eat regular meals, eat enough calories, but do not over eat, drink more water and, I think, the most important thing is to start moving. As it was said “eat to live, do not live to eat” and use the money you have left over to enjoy your life away from the table.
To sum up, it is obvious, that no matter what a person tries to do, there is no way to prevent a consumption of soft drinks and junk food. Fast food impacts people brain and get them addicted to it and imposing higher taxes is not a solution. In my opinion, only by observing a diet free from unhealthy food, sugars, junk food, a person can experience many benefits such as good health, more energy and vitality and an overall better quality of