In The Media
'Fat tax' could save thousands of lives

Say it isn't so! Pollies in Britain think that by increasing the price of "Fat foods", they'll reduce mortality rates for things like strokes and heart disease. Sounds like rubbish to me. One good thing might come out of it though, it just means you'll have to buy all your portions supersized to get the best value!


"FAT taxes" on foods containing high levels of fat, salt and sugar could save up to 3200 lives a year in Britain, researchers said today. Their study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, tested three ways in which economics could be used to tackle the nation's obesity epidemic.


The first involved taxing foods with high levels of saturated fats, like cheese and cakes; the second taxed foods with a high general "unhealthiness score"; while the third imposed a wider-ranging tax in a bid to cut fat, salt and sugar levels.

The third approach was shown to be most effective and researchers said it would bring about a 1.7 per cent drop in the number of deaths from heart disease and strokes.

The extra tax burden would be roughly £2 billion ($4.72 billion) a year, they said.

"Fat taxes may be used to produce modest changes in diet, which at a population level would have a meaningful mortality," the scientists, led by Doctor Oliver Mytton of the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, central England, said.

"More research is needed to better understand the potential effects of any fat tax, particularly the effect on the poor."

Former prime minister Tony Blair ruled out the idea of a "fat tax" in 2004, while a government spokesman said efforts to reduce obesity had focused on helping on persuading people to change their diet and exercise regimes.

Julian Hunt of the Food and Drink Federation, an industry body, described the study as "utter nonsense", saying it would apply to "perfectly nutritious" foods like cheese and hit the poorest hardest.

Around a quarter of Britain's adults are obese and the proportion of obese children rose by over 40 per cent between 1995 and 2004.

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