I’ve written in previous posts about the idea of adding a “fat tax” to foods high in fat, sodium or sugar as a way to reduce consumption. Similar taxes have been used quite successfully in some European countries and voters favor trying this approach in some states.
A recent article in Time Magazine, however, comes to a different conclusion. The article finds that these types of taxes can raise revenues, but they don’t do much to change behavior. They cite one recent study that suggests that it may take as much as a 10 percent increase in the cost of an unhealthy food like soda, candy or cake to lower consumption by just 1 percent. If that’s the case, is a tax like this still useful?
We have to be careful when we look at studies like this. It may seem that a 1 percent change wouldn’t make any difference. But, with the obesity epidemic now claiming more than 30 percent of U.S. adults, sighting percentages can be deceiving. If anything could lower the obesity rate in this country by just 1 percent, a seemingly very small amount, than would translate to removing about 600,000 people from the obesity roles!
At the same time, even if a tax didn’t make a huge difference in the eating habit of people, the money raised by it could be used to fund educational efforts that would make a big difference. We could use the money to fund cooking and nutrition classes in public schools, public service campaigns like the current First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign, or online resources for parents trying to make healthy choices.
What do you think about taxing unhealthy foods? We would love to hear your opinion!
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
Do You Wish Your Kid’s Ate Better? Check out our FREE eBook at www.HealthFamilyFuture.com. Many of the strategies in this book can be used by both children and adults.
You might also want to read: Should There Be a “Fat Tax?”, Childhood Obesity: The Role of School Vending Machines, Healthy Kids: Spend $$ Now to Save $$$$$ Later