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Will Taxing Soda And Pizza Solve The Obesity Epidemic?

SS Member Image By drodriguez 04.12.10
Will Taxing Soda And Pizza Solve The Obesity Epidemic?
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In the last few years, as the obesity epidemic heightens, researchers and scientists have been brainstorming on ways to help the nation slim down and get healthy.  One new idea coming from Kiyah Duffey and a team of reserachers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is to start taxing junk food items like soda and pizza.  The team believes that a tax on these types of high in fat and sugar items will make people think twice before purchasing them.

A recent report from Reuters discusses the research published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine about taxing soda and pizza.  According to the article the U.S. currently spends $147 billion a year in health costs due to obesity in Americans.  This hefty expense doesn ’t come as much of a surprise when you look at the current statistic that 2 out of every 3 Americans are either overweight or obese.  In the past, both the CDC and American Heart Association are now publicly supporting a tax on soft drinks.

But will a tax on these foods and drinks really make people stop buying them?  Duffey’s team believes it will.  After studying a group of over 5,000 people varying in age from 18 to 30 over a 20-year period, the researchers found that during this time when there was a 10 percent increase in pizza and soda costs, they saw a decrease in overall calorie consumption.  Individuals taking part in the study consumed 7 percent less calories from soda and 12 less from pizza when prices were up.  This led the team to believe that if there was something more substantial, like an 18 percent tax on these foods then we would see people’s daily calorie intake go down by about 56 calories.  That would add up to a weight loss of about 5 pounds per person per year. 

Duffey’s team goes on to further explain why a tax on pizza and soda can really benefit us as a country.  Duffey says, "While such policies will not solve  the obesity epidemic in its entirety and may face considerable opposition from food manufacturers and sellers, they could prove an important strategy to address overconsumption, help reduce energy intake and potentially aid in weight loss and reduced rates in diabetes among U.S. adults."

What do you think of the idea of taxing soda and pizza as a way to decrease the obesity rate in the U.S.?

Would a tax on these items make you think twice about purchasing them for you or your family?

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  • BlondieKAA By BlondieKAA

    I think that taxing pizza and soda is such a shallow "solution" to obesity. The obesity problem does go a whole lot deeper than just this. I think that people who like to eat pizza and soda, whether in moderation or in excessive amounts, will still eat it. I love pizza (in moderation), and I don't think a tax would keep me from buying it. As a couple other people already pointed out, I don't think that penalties will keep people from buying unhealthy food. Instead, incentive programs would be much more motivating.

  • juicysteff By juicysteff

    I honestly feel that the reason for the Tax is just another way to get more money Out of us, as if sales tax wasn't enough! It will be an effective way of collecting money Since most americans are overweight And will not give up their unhealthy choices. I personally am a bit of a health nut and I try to encourage My overweight friends to make healthy choices And simply enjoy all of the different and delicious Fruits and vegetables out there but I often hear them say That they just can't afford to eat healthy and that fast food is just so cheap That they always give in. My argument to them is That u can't put a price on health and even if u choose to so will ur doctor when he sends u a huge bill because u have A long list of health problems!

  • juicysteff By juicysteff

    I think the most effective way to help americans will the battle against obesity Would be to change the lunch program in public schools Most children that attend public school eat junk and home and junk at school and don't get Proper nutrition, if schools would change their food and maybe offer parents some classes on how to cook healthier at home it could really make a difference.

  • juicysteff By juicysteff

    I also think that the food stamp program should only allow Users to pick certain foods, non name brand , inexpensive healthy food, I strongly Believe that beggars can't be choosers and should just be happy to get healthy food instead of a bunch of junk! I think that if u make the food stamp program to comfortable people enjoy it to much and Want to stay on the program forever!

  • Clemmy By Clemmy

    Using this taxation method will be difficult to regulate to begin with. Therefore, we should spend more time helping provide information for families on how to create healthy meals on a low budget because the majority of our population doesn't have excessive money to spend. This also effect the current food program provided in the education and welfare systems. If we want to fight the obesity epidemic occurring in the United States, we need to start with societal institutions and make them over because until we change how they operate, nothing big can occur.

  • Realnamrie By Realnamrie

    It definitely would not stop the obesity program. To be honest, I smoke - even with having to pay the extra $2 a pack in taxes. If it is something you want it will then be something that you will get. Prices have risen so much that I don't think I would even notice the difference if they did tax my sodas. I like what BlondieKAA has to say - eating healthy can be expensive and any incentives you would give me to do that would be great!

  • SiLvEr-StArS By SiLvEr-StArS

    Oh I don't think it will help out the Obesity Epidemic, If there is at all any % rate it will be very low, people are still gonna buy/pay for it. Sad but true! Just like a few people here said it, that there is Taxes on alot of other things. And it's still not making/helping us cut back or stop buying these things.

  • PictureGirl By PictureGirl

    Taxing certain foods is NOT going to deter people from eating them. It is crazy the American people would allow the government to even talk about doing this. The government is trying to regulate our food consumption by taxes. huh, what??? To help people we need to establish better youth and community centers for our families. Have not just sports but mommy and me Yoga, teen dance, senior dancing, senior water aerobic, cooking classes for all ages, so on... BUT most importantly we need heath education in our schools!!! Many elementary schools have lost there PE programs. (As well as there art, music and computer education...) Taxing pizza and soda, what are people thinking...

  • zionita By zionita

    Food Stamps and school lunches allow all types of junk foods and soda. Some of these people also get passes to go to local area food banks and many pass on fresh fruit and vegetables because; they are a bother. Jaime Oliver and his Food Revolution are on the right track. His community kitchen is teaching people how to cook fast, easy, and tasty fresh food. Not prepackaged foods. Taxing pizza and soda is not the problem. (Look at cigarettes, beer, and alcohol taxes?Who is getting all that tax money. Because many people are still drinking and smoking. Did those higher taxes really stop consumers?) HFCS, sugar, preservatives and additives are a problem. Why are some foods so addicting? Remember the commercial Lays... No One can eat just one..... Hmmmm., There should be more promotions out there to eat your, yellow. orange, green, purple, and so on.....

  • MadHatter By MadHatter

    wait...why target only soda and pizza? what happened to those greasy chinese take out foods? those BigMacs? they have got to be kidding me if they think taxing those things are going to stop obisity. the only thing that can help a person from being obese is themselves. if there is a will there is a way. stop making excuses for laziness.

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