Published on 17/05/2012
Experts at Oxford University have recommended a 20 per cent fat tax on sugary drinks to help with the UK’s obesity crisis.
A recent study published in the Lancet Journal warned that almost half of British men and 4 in 10 women could be clinically obese within 20 years. The rising figure is estimated to cost the NHS an extra £2 billion a year.
A 'fat tax' could be applied to fizzy drinks
Writing in the British Medical Journal, researchers from the Department of Public Health at Oxford say that a fat tax on sweetened drinks would cut consumption and help curb rising levels of obesity in Britain.
Denmark was the first country in the world to introduce a fat tax last October on foods high in saturated fats, and France has taxed sweetened drinks. David Cameron is now considering following in their footsteps.
The researchers say that government intervention such as taxation can be justified when the market fails to provide the ‘optimum’ good for society’s wellbeing, like the duties on alcohol and tobacco. A tax of around 20 per cent is roughly equivalent to extending VAT.
VAT is already applied to some foods and drinks in this country, but it is done inconsistently - as the recent pasty tax debate revealed.
Study author Dr Rayner said: “Obesity has rocketed recently and if anything our diet is getting worse. We need to take steps to tackle this problem as a nation.
“It’s affecting our health and it’s affecting our wallets through the increased burden on the NHS and the taxpayer.”
The study emphasised that a tax on sugary drinks is not going to cure obesity by itself. There needs to be a strategy to deal with the affordability, availability and the promotion of unhealthy foods.
Look or a health insurance policy with discounted gym memberships and incentives for eating fruit and vegetables to kick start your healthy lifestyle.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: Health