Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Fat Tax Is Coming

I had been hearing about a potential "fat tax" to be levied on the beverage industry that would raise the price of a 20oz. bottle of soda by fifteen to twenty percent. The proposed tax would be one cent per ounce of beverage. This is just another tax in the list of increases that will continue to grow as the need to garner money for repairing current deficits as well as for funding programs in state and federal governments also continues to grow. For instance, several states have already increased their state sales tax rates.

This new "fat tax" is targeted toward accomplishing two major objectives. One, to raise money to fund new health care initiatives by raising an estimated $14.9 billion in just it's first year. This money will help to offset expenditures related to the obesity problem which is figured to account for almost $14 billion per year of the total $147 billion health care expense. Secondly, the goal is to stem the tide of the overweight and obesity epidemic in this country by steering people away from consuming these beverages. It is in some way a viewed as a prevention strategy for improving health and reducing health care costs associated with obesity which can also reduce the diabetes epidemic as well.

Some research has shown that eliminating sugary beverages has led to a decrease in weight and that just one bottle of soda can lead to a 60% increase in obesity risk in young teens. The recent push by doctors and researchers at leading institutions like Harvard and Yale University as well as Boston Children's Hospital are advocating such a tax as a step in the right direction to reduce the risk and occurrence of obesity as well as providing needed funding to support health care initiates through a prevention strategy that will save money. Sounds good to me since I am not a fan of sugary beverages and especially not one of high fructose corn syrup which is increasingly implicated as a major contributor to the obesity problem. We will have to see what happens but I imagine it will pass in some form just like the sin tax on cigarettes.

Reference:
Soda Tax Wins Health Experts Support

9 comments:

kate said...

I am ALL for a fat tax. My stepdad was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He cut out Coke and immediately lost 11 pounds. I heard that type 2 diabetes costs about $7,600 a year in medical maintenance costs. For a preventable disease this sure taxes our economy. The best place to start is make heathful food affordable and junk food expensive..oh, but then we need to stop subsidizing corn and soy, that's a whole different set of issues!

excellent post! once again I agree with you completely! And thanks for your email via Blog catalogue, we actually already follow each other! I can't rememeber my password into to BC so I can't reply...oops! -kate

http://holdfastseeker.blogspot.com

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TC said...

Wow. Good for your dad. LOL that is funny about BC. FYI, I sometimes am not able to post comments on your blog but will keep trying.

healthy_blogging said...

I have mixed opinions on this proposed tax. On the one hand, I understand that the money to fund health care programs will have to come from somewhere and consumption of too much soda pop (or any other food) can lead to obesity. But on the other hand, with a weakened economy, if people start to pull back from purchasing soda pop it could affect other areas of the economy. If soda pop becomes too expensive people will just look elsewhere for their sugar fix.

I think that educating the public about healthy food choices and getting regular exercise might be more effective in curtailing the obesity epidemic.

Tricia said...

I think if they are adding a "Fat tax" to sugary pops, then they should be adding it fast food restaurants as well. Obesity and inactivity is a huge burden the heath care industry and is 100% avoidable. People just don't treat their bodies with respect any more.

Real Simple Healthy Living for You said...

I am also for this tax proposal due to the health benefits, but here is my question, what happens if people who buy sugary drinks, decides not to buy at all and the government is unable to raise the amount of money needed for funding healthcare and paying deficits?

TC said...

@healthy blogging - we do need more focus on prevention through more awareness but providing a means to make healthy food less expensive & more readily available is probably a better route to go. If your right about seeking an alternative sugar fix then this strategy will not stem the obesity epidemic one bit. It will be interesting to see what happens.

@trisha - that is not a bad idea. I realize many people with less money opt for fast food but this could be a means to help curb that consumption. It would be a novel concept to subsidize healthy food and tax bad food.

Ratty said...

High fructose corn syrup is bad stuff. A tax like this is good as long as the soda manufacturers only decide to charge extra for their products that contain forms of sugar. Most likely they will spread it out to other products. I hope I'm wrong.

Walking Queen said...

I don't really know how much a "fat tax" would curb drinking soft drinks. How much has the cost of cigarette's curbed smoking? I'm not sure about the answer, but I know tons of smokers who still smoke and complain about the cost. There are tons of people who are diagnosed with diabetes and they still shove this bad stuff down their throats! Instead of a fat tax, I think that people who have low cholesterol and/or acceptable bmi should get tax credits.