Fat Tax - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/12/07

Fat Tax

This could be a solution to the obesity epidemic, a British study says an increased tax on high fat foods may irk a lot of people but it could also save 3,000 lives a year.

Researchers used a mathematical model that increased taxes on foods containing high amounts of fat, salt and sugar something they say would like drive up the weekly food bill by about four percent a year, but they believe that nearly 3,200 people would not die from a heart attack or stroke.

It's a controversial theory. Opponents argue that a fat tax may make it harder for the poor to afford groceries, period. 

According to the release: the researchers used three different approaches: they first applied the tax to dairy products containing high levels of saturated fats, such as whole butter and cheese, baked goods, puddings. They found lowering saturated fat intake may increase salt intake.

In the second approach, they applied the tax to foods attracting a score of more than nine. This is a validated measure of the  score of more than nine. This is a validated measure of the "healthiness" of a food. For example, spinach scores a 12, while chocolate digestive biscuits score plus 29. They found this would prevent around 2300 deaths a year and add four percent to weekly food bills.

In the third approach they widened the range of foodstuffs taxed to cut fat, salt, and sugar intake for maximum health. They found widening the range of foodstuffs for maximum health would boost weekly household food expenditure by 4.6 percent a person a week. But it would prevent up to 3,200 deaths from heart disease and stroke every year, equivalent to a drop of one point seven percent across the nation.

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