Fat Tax: US Study Confirms Healthy Effect

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Fat Tax: Long-Term US Study Confirms Healthy Effect. Romania is the first European country to plan to introduce a "junk food" tax.

Planning of the fat tax in Romania is progressing. As early as January 2010, the Romanian Ministry of Health confronted its population with a planned “punitive tax” on unhealthy food, which was supposed to be introduced on March 1. In the meantime, the planning has advanced further, the (anti) fat tax (fast food or junk food tax) is hotly debated in Romania. While critics of the idea do not believe changes in consumer behavior due to higher prices, this thesis is supported by a US study.

Scientists have observed eating behavior for over 20 years. The results of a long-term study in the USA have shown that the consumption of junk foods such as pizza and cola decreases with rising prices and can thus reduce the development of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In 1985, the so-called CARDIA study was started in the USA to research factors that have a positive effect on the development of cardiovascular diseases. The nutritional behavior of 5115 young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 over a period of 20 years was recorded regularly using a questionnaire, as well as height, weight, blood sugar and insulin values. The subjects were men and women of different ethnic backgrounds with different levels of education, family status and annual income.

Appetite for pizza and soda decreases with rising prices. When analyzing the percentage change in consumption with a percentage change in price, a clear correlation between the price and consumption of lemonade and pizza was found. A price increase of 10 percent led to a reduced calorie intake of 7 percent for lemonade and 11.5 percent due to pizza consumption. If the prices of pizza and lemonade rose, the results added up.

The authors of the study conclude from the facts collected that an increase in prices due to higher taxation of the corresponding foods could actually lead to less obesity in the long term, an improved metabolic situation and thus, for example, fewer diabetes diseases in the population. While the United States has been advising on the junk food tax for years, Finland, Denmark and Taiwan are considering introducing it in addition to Romania. In Germany, obesity and complications from malnutrition are also complained about, but the planning of a fat tax has not (yet) been announced.
(Dipl.Päd. J. Viñals Stein, naturopath 28.03.2010)

Further information:
Summary & further information about the CARDIA study
Obesity is rising in Germany
Do diets promote eating disorders?
Avoiding carbohydrates lowers blood pressure

Author and source information

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