Thursday, November 18, 2010

And the Best Way to Curb Obesity is . . . .

taxing junk food and limiting advertisements:

Here's the deal:

LONDON (Reuters) – Taxing junk food, limiting food adverts and making labels clearer could be the best way to curb rising obesity levels in countries like India and China, where increasing prosperity is creating ever heavier consumers.

The average annual cost of tackling obesity with these measures could be less than $1 per head, and global experts said in a study on Thursday that emerging economies should take immediate action to reverse rising obesity rates before the problem reaches levels seen in the industrialized world.

Researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) studied possible strategies to combat obesity in six emerging economies and also in England.

They found that combining prevention steps into a co-ordinated strategy would have a significant health impact.

"A multiple intervention strategy would achieve substantially larger health gains than individual programs, with better cost-effectiveness," said Michele Cecchini, an OECD health policy analyst and one of the authors of the study.
This study was targeted at developing economies, but I think its something the US should be taking seriously as well. I'm all for taxing ultra-processed junk foods and sugary drinks.

For one thing, they're like alcohol and cigarettes, not good for us, so if we insist on indulging, we should be paying taxes to offset the social costs (i.e., higher health care costs).

Second, let's face it, the government needs the money to pay off the debts we have. The day coming when this country wakes up and realizes "no new taxes" is a fantasy (probably the day China decides our credit is no longer any good). Like Greece and Ireland we're going to have our own national finacial crisis that will make the last few years seem like a cake-walk.

It's simply delusional to think we can pay off the mounting debts we have from government programs no one wants to cut or wars we feel we can't end without raising taxes somewhere. I'm against raising income taxes, and I'm somewhat opposed to a national sales tax (unless there's a corresponding reduction in the income tax), but soda and junk food taxes? I'm all over that.

Of course, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the Fox News Universe is going to scream that it's unpatriotic to tax Ho Hos and Coke. They'll scream over the airwaves and through the boob tube that somehow we're interfering with what's truly "American" by taxing food creating by huge food conglomerates which advertise on their programs (I guess the only "true Americans" are lethargic, obese couch potatoes who sit on sofas, eating Doritos and listening to the bullshit they spew).

But then again, his highness of rotundness, Rush Limbaugh, thinks you can lose weight and be healthy simply be restricting your calories and eating Twinkies. LOL!


  1. Well, to be honest, a person COULD lose weight eating Twinkies and crap if they eat very few calories. Not that it's health-inducing, mind you, but one could.

    However, that's hardly the point. The point is that we have a NATIonAL and creeping INT'L problem that is partly fueled by the desire of restaurants and food purveyors to make you eat their stuff and eat a lot and more. I'm all for banning adverts for all junk foods and for taxing junk foods/drinks. I say use the extra money for subsidizing GOOD food like healthy produce (ideally organic) and lean protein sources. For education in nutrition from elementary school.

    I used to eat out every day. I've had to cut back. A lot of restaurants only have lousy choices (or the good choices are so limited it's not worth going). If restaurants want me back, start ofering complete dinners that don't go over 700 calories and have spices and herbs and taste good. Try that. I'll pay MORE for better healthier food!

    Anyway, I got all heated up. I partly agree with Limbaugh-we do have to show more control. But I know for a fact the environment is toxic and promote obesity. The ads, the food cues, the choices restaurants make to supersize, fiddle with foods to make them fattier and saltier and sweeter. It's killing us.

  2. Princess Dieter, restricting calories does lead to weight loss, but it won't keep it off. That's the point.