Fat Tax? Seriously?

Denmark just launched a ‘Fat Tax‘.

At first blush it sounded like a great idea to me…then I thought about it for awhile.

When I had no idea about food, a ‘Fat Tax‘ would have just screwed me up more. I had no idea why pizza was bad for me. In reality, pizza isn’t bad for you. Five slices of it with a litre of pop followed by a bowl of ice cream most days of the week is where things really go off the rails. Then the kicker is not knowing that eating that way is a problem and not having the resources you need to fix it.

Pizza

HONESTLY. One slice of this is not going to make you fat.

So now it costs MORE to live in Denmark if you eat ‘Fat Foods’.

A few questions:

  • Does the revenue from the ‘Fat Tax’ go to obesity counselling, youth fitness programs, and nutrition and wellness programs? I highly doubt it…
  • Fat is required in your diet, so does a person have a threshold of ‘Fat’ they can buy before they are taxed?
  • What’s next? Fines for going above a certain BMI when you weigh in with your doctor?
  • If you are going to have a ‘Fat Tax’, why not a ‘Skinny Tax’ for people who suffer from the other spectrum of disordered eating?

I applaud Denmark for stepping out and trying to do something about an epidemic; unfortunately they showed up to tsunami clean up with a bucket and a roll of paper towels.

tsunami

It is a full out mess and we need to do something more.

When did we stop believing that people are smart and capable and start treating them like inanimate objects?

Humans have incredible potential, but they need resources, information, and support to live up to it.

Its time to deal in the currency of empowerment rather than belittlement. 

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

Knowing why and how changes people.

What do you think of the Fat Tax?

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Comments

  1. Candice Ryan says:

    I think thats BS. If they want to target Fat they need to target Skinny! Its one in the same.
    Have you ever seen the BBC show Fat VS Skinny? OMG. What an eye opener that show is (off topic lol)

  2. I have a Master’s in Economics and actually wrote a term paper on this topic and got a scholarship out of it. The way they’ve gone about implementing the tax is a little dumb (I would suggest taxing various phases of production that strip nutritional value, as well as garbage like corn and its Frankensteinian derivatives), but it’s a great way for nations struggling with deficits to use price signals to deter people from eating crappy food.

    People will learn there is a tax on the food because it is considered ‘bad.’ Perhaps they will seek out to learn why! There would be a two-fold fiscal reward here:

    1. More tax revenues.
    2. Potentially healthier citizens, who in the long run use the health care system much less.

    My proposal was also to use tax revenues to subsidize fruits, vegetables and lean proteins so that we can limit the socioeconomic connection between income and weight. It’s expensive to eat well, so that would help out lower income families. There are thousands of econometrics papers out there proving the link between poverty and obesity, and when they split out all other relationships, the price of food remains very significant.

    Hopefully Denmark’s questionable attempt will inspire more intelligent approaches to the ‘fat tax’ system.

  3. AHAH WAHT? that is crazy! thats sending the wrong message to people!

  4. I think it’s a good idea, in theory. In Australia fruits, vegetables and meats are ridiculously expensive. My husband and I spend $175-200 a week on groceries and really don’t buy a lot. Everything is fresh, minus our oatmeal. But we could easily go into the store and buy ready-made meals, pizzas, chips and ice cream for a week, and it wouldn’t even come to half the cost.

    Australia is catching up to the US in the obesity stakes purely because most people can’t justify spending so much to eat healthy. Either subsidise the vegetables and meat, or bump up the price off junk food. Until something changes, the population is just going to continue to move away from eating healthy.

  5. Not disagreeing, but Denmark already does have one of the lowest obesity rates (~10%), but still have access to all the same fast food as North Americans, so maybe they’re doing something right.

  6. I think that perhaps the taxes should go towards subsidising fresh food in your local neighbourhood – so that in the average store the unhealthy things start to become pricier, but the fresh fruit and veg really starts to come down in price.

    Also – can I just say how excited I am about the 12 weeks of Fitmas?!?! So stoked 😉

  7. I’m not really interested in paying MORE taxes here in America if I decide that I want to have a pizza for dinner or if I need another bottle of olive oil. It really isn’t the government’s place. Smaller government = better government – I’m a big girl, I’m good at making my own decisions.

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