Report: 'Fat Tax' Could Curb Nation's Obesity Problem
20 Percent Tax Would Be Placed On Unhealthy Foods
5:10 AM, May 18, 2012
Health experts have been trying to combat obesity in America for years and have recently suggested a new way to solve the growing problem.A new study suggests that imposing a fat tax on unhealthy food and drinks could help slim down expanding waistlines.
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According to British Medical Journal , more than 60 percent of Americans are overweight. Under the tax, a $4 cheeseburger would cost an extra 80 cents, RTV6's Stacia Matthews reported.Some Hoosiers found the proposed fat tax hard to swallow."I don't think we should tax people and the way they run their lives, one man said.Others said a fat tax is palatable."I'd pay 20 percent. It's worth it, one woman said. "I would eat a lot more healthy just to save more money.Researchers said a fat tax could drop obesity rates by 3.5 percent and prevent 2,700 heart-related deaths a year. The study also urged subsidies for healthier foods and veggies to make them more affordable.Dr. Eric Wright, who heads the Department of Public Health at the Indiana University School of Medicine, said the fat tax falls right in line with other consumer products."We've applied tax to alcohol and tobacco and that has definitely shown through very many studies that it actually decreased use. So, the logic has been applied to fatty foods and preliminary evidence in Europe is that its very effective, Wright said.Researchers said Indiana spends $3.5 billion a year on obesity-related medical costs."The reality is, with two-thirds of the population being overweight or obese, that's what's driving up health care costs and you can either choose to pay now, or you can pay later, Wright said.Critics of the tax said people who choose to eat healthier foods should receive tax breaks and incentives.