Essay about Paying By The Pound : Why A Fat Tax Would Not Work

Essay about Paying By The Pound : Why A Fat Tax Would Not Work

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Paying by the Pound: Why a Fat Tax Would Not Work in America
Obesity is something that we have all seen before. In this day and age, it has become far more prevalent than any year in the past and is only gaining speed with time. Obesity has become a plague making its mark on our country and on our world. In 1962, obesity in the United States was approximately 13.4 percent of the population (Fryar, Carroll, and Ogden 5). That number in 2010 was 36.1 percent, a huge increase that is detrimental to the health of Americans (Fryar, Carroll, and Ogden 5). Nicole Novak and Kelly Brownell believe obesity is “a key public health priority” due to the fact that “61% of adults nationwide” are overweight or obese (2345). The reason obesity is bad for our country’s health is because of the adverse side effects of obesity. According to The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “overweight and obesity are linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar), high blood pressure, certain cancers, and other chronic conditions” (1). We need to find ways of combating this obesity before it becomes worse. A fat tax is one option being considered by specialists studying obesity. However, a fat tax would not have enough of an impact to stop obesity in its tracts and aid America and the world in having better health for future generations.
Many people across the globe are groaning at the thought of a tax on their favorite junk food or tasty snack. In theory a fat tax should be able to lower the rates of obesity, over eating, and diabetes. The debate of having dietary taxes, such as a fat tax, has been around since 1942, when A.J. Carlson speculated at the idea of taxing someone per pound over weight (Engber 1). Today, the op...


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...nk that a fat tax was never meant to be a mechanism to lower obesity in the first place (Caraher and Cowburn 204). Many Americans will not stray from their favorite foods and many will turn to the cheap alternatives to replace caloric intake. They will continue to buy their favorite unhealthy foods as long as they can afford it. This is known as the “income effect” which can play a large role in the public’s health (Cornelsen et al. 3). Robert Creighton in the Journal of Legal Medicine states, “such taxes fail when levied unnecessarily and irrationally against the items people feel they cannot do without” (134). The empirical studies show that the taxes are regressive, meaning they will eventually level off, and ineffective (Clark, Dittrich, and Xu 205). If these studies are showing no change in the diet of the population, why are we still studying its effectiveness?

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