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Will Taxing Soda And Pizza Solve The Obesity Epidemic?

Will Taxing Soda And Pizza Solve The Obesity Epidemic?

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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  • thriftychic By thriftychic
    04.19.10  

    Ok. Number 1. Who decides that 2 out of 3 Americans are "Overweight"? That seems a little extreme to me. Not everyone is a stick figure- and I am so tired of our country making it seem like that is the only form of healthiness. I'm not "obese" and I"m not rail thin either. I am healthy for crying out loud! Do I eat the occasional pizza? You betcha! Secondly- this tax is just about as ridiculous as taxing people more who tan. They will find any way to squeeze every extra cent from our pockets. No, I don't think its going to stop people from buying junk food. I have every confidence that the government doesn't believe it either...its just another excuse to take our money to pad their pockets.

  • APH007 By APH007
    04.19.10  

    GO FOR IT!!! Just like cigarrettes and booze, I don't eat it and don't need it. Tax away!!! Eating junk food is just as much a vice as smoking and/or drinking. And studies have shown that the number of people smoking does decrease substantially every time the price increases and you make it less convenient. Omitting that soda from your diet will not kill you but omitting fruits and veggies will. It's a fallacy that healthy food=more expensive. That's what you're brainwashed to believe.

  • smiddlemore By smiddlemore
    04.19.10  

    Here's an economic twist- What would happen to the loss of income to those in the business of servicing pizza or other such food that are to be heavily taxed? I am not a huge advocate of policing the people. I dont like sneaky forms of control. But thats as far as I can complain since I dont know of a workable solution either. My gut (pardon the pun) tells me this is not the right way but I also dont know what the right way could be yet.

  • Laobodian By Laobodian
    04.19.10  

    I work in the food and restaurant industry and I think that taxing what people consume will make not one bit of change to their diet. I say this because the food that are natural and healthy are the most expensive and some are disgusting. Thus, consumers will choose to eat deliciously than healthy if both are expensive. I highly doubt that people will stop doing what pleasure them just like smoking and drinking. Cigarettes are up to almost ten dollars a pack and people are still smoking-even with the known hazard of smoking.

  • MyEmptyCanvas By MyEmptyCanvas
    04.20.10  

    **** "What do you think of the idea of taxing soda and pizza as a way to decrease the obesity rate in the U.S.?" --Seriously, taxing 2 food items, now that's ridiculous -- as if anything else like hamburgers, fries etc. don't add to the problems. Sorry but taxing or charging more taxes on 2 items won't work, you'd have to completely get rid of them ALL not just those 2. **** "Would a tax on these items make you think twice about purchasing them for you or your family?" --- No, I know I need to take better control of my situation, but if the tax isn't that far fetch a gift card and coupons is all you need to get it back to the norm of what you'd regularly paid before. Of course, I'd slow down on getting them but when someone wants something no matter what the price, if they have the funds they'll get it ... high tax, low tax, or no tax!

  • drobinson By drobinson
    04.24.10  

    It would be nice to think it would work but I think the govt is just wanting to make more money... just my opinion

  • Ambiguoussage By Ambiguoussage
    04.24.10  

    Oh please. They just know they are guaranteed revenue from this because people will not cease to purchase these items. This is insulting. Why don't we improve school menus and put a bit more emphasis on the individual roles we have on our own lifestyles.

  • kathoust By kathoust
    04.25.10  

    Ok, from what I'm reading, alot of you are basically saying that anyone on food stamps is overweight. So if the food stamp program eliminates the ability for recipients to buy junk food, soda and whatever else that's unhealthy, they will all become thin and healthy and anyone who isn't poor will be the only fat people of the world? And for the person that said when you make a food stamp purchase, you don't pay taxes, um yes we do..get your facts together and stop trying to blame America's obesity on poor people!

  • Orchid25 By Orchid25
    04.27.10  

    It's not going to work. Smokers still smoke even though cigarettes were taxed numerous times. No matter how much a product costs..if your addicted you will buy it no matter what.

  • cybrown551 By cybrown551
    04.28.10  

    Taxing these products will definitely make me think twice about purchasing these products. However I don't believe that this will solve our obesity problem. What I believe it will do is help to lower the price of some of these products when people stop buying them and that would offset the extra tax which would in turn put us back into the same situation as before. This may be a great way of lowering the price on products that are already overpriced. But unfortunately it will not solve the obesity problem.

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