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UK government obesity strategy

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  • stevehenderson776stevehenderson776 Member Posts: 143 Member Member Posts: 143 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    That is a difficult game to play because first as you are assuming that fat people are fat because they eat lots of donuts and pizza, and second you are not equally applying this punishment to people who for example participate in extreme sports.

    You are also of course assuming that fat people do not already pay their fair share of taxes through employment etc.

    So for me, personally, I would rather see people helped towards a better quality of life than punished for not having one already.

    If you're not obese because you eat lots of donuts and pizza and soda then a tax on donuts and pizza and soda shouldn't bother you at all. We put calories on restaurant menus years ago here to ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT. A nice, gentle education campaign doesn't work if the population you're aiming to educate has their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears. Our heavy handed anti-smoking campaign on the other hand has worked wonders. You could say the same thing about smokers, that they pay their "fair share" of taxes through income tax, HST, etc, but you can't say that they take their "fair share" from our public healthcare system when they choose to make themselves less healthy than their peers. The sin taxes on cigarettes go to offset this disparity, like higher insurance rates for smokers would in countries with private coverage. This is no different. We've been trying to warn people about the dangers of obesity for decades and its only gotten much worse. It's time to try a more heavy handed approach, regardless of how it might inconvenience a few bodybuilders.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,353 Member Member Posts: 1,353 Member
    spyro88 wrote: »
    It's also important to think about the wider impact of this idea of a tax on so called 'junk' foods.

    For example, a low income family might go to a fast food restaurant once a fortnight. It's their treat - it's affordable and a way for them to get out as a family and spend time together.

    This tax idea could make that financially unviable for them, when it is not doing them any harm and could actually be benefitting that family in terms of spending time together and having a treat.

    Are there other options and things they could do? Sure. But why take that away from them if it's something they love to do?

    This is not like smoking - it has much wider implications.

    I'm not a UK resident but I know there are taxes on alcohol in the UK. A low income couple might enjoy a bottle of wine occasionally. They have to pay the tax, how is this proposal any different?
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 194 Member Member Posts: 194 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    That is a difficult game to play because first as you are assuming that fat people are fat because they eat lots of donuts and pizza, and second you are not equally applying this punishment to people who for example participate in extreme sports.

    You are also of course assuming that fat people do not already pay their fair share of taxes through employment etc.

    So for me, personally, I would rather see people helped towards a better quality of life than punished for not having one already.

    If you're not obese because you eat lots of donuts and pizza and soda then a tax on donuts and pizza and soda shouldn't bother you at all. We put calories on restaurant menus years ago here to ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT. A nice, gentle education campaign doesn't work if the population you're aiming to educate has their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears. Our heavy handed anti-smoking campaign on the other hand has worked wonders. You could say the same thing about smokers, that they pay their "fair share" of taxes through income tax, HST, etc, but you can't say that they take their "fair share" from our public healthcare system when they choose to make themselves less healthy than their peers. The sin taxes on cigarettes go to offset this disparity, like higher insurance rates for smokers would in countries with private coverage. This is no different. We've been trying to warn people about the dangers of obesity for decades and its only gotten much worse. It's time to try a more heavy handed approach, regardless of how it might inconvenience a few bodybuilders.

    You miss the point - if I am not obese through pizza I would not pay your tax but someone who is NOT fat but eats pizza will pay your tax. So not only is it is blunt instrument it is one that will generally miss the mark.

    As for calories on restaurant menus - I am also pleased they are bringing in a requirement for this as I personally will find it extremely useful and at the moment only a few places make this info available.

    Meanwhile, taxing cigarettes is not same as taxing food. Why? Because no one has to smoke and because we know smoking will shorten life, probably via cancer. We all however have to eat.

    Finally - a heavy handed approach???? Which brings us back to your incorrect assertion that we all got fat through chocolate and pizza. ;)

    People simply need to be helped as there are lots of reasons people get to the sizes they do, not bullied, not taxed and certainly not sent to their room without any supper.
    edited August 13
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 194 Member Member Posts: 194 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    spyro88 wrote: »
    It's also important to think about the wider impact of this idea of a tax on so called 'junk' foods.

    For example, a low income family might go to a fast food restaurant once a fortnight. It's their treat - it's affordable and a way for them to get out as a family and spend time together.

    This tax idea could make that financially unviable for them, when it is not doing them any harm and could actually be benefitting that family in terms of spending time together and having a treat.

    Are there other options and things they could do? Sure. But why take that away from them if it's something they love to do?

    This is not like smoking - it has much wider implications.

    I'm not a UK resident but I know there are taxes on alcohol in the UK. A low income couple might enjoy a bottle of wine occasionally. They have to pay the tax, how is this proposal any different?

    Wine is 100% optional - so again, different. For sure you could argue fast food is also optional but food is not.
    edited August 13
  • PWHFPWHF Member, Premium Posts: 222 Member Member, Premium Posts: 222 Member
    GPs are very very busy, especially now. It doesn't surprise me that they wouldn't have detailed knowledge about some subjects as they have a lot of general medical knowledge to cover. It also doesn't surprise me that we have overweight doctors eating crisps - they are under a lot of stress, underfunded and can't just prescribe antibiotics anymore...

    IMO if they want to tackle obesity then they could make more noise about the obese going into lockdown in the event of a second wave:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-obesity-elderly-self-isolate-second-wave-a9661716.html

    One thing our government and media are good at is spreading fear so they just need to play the overweight = 'high risk' category for Covid.
    edited August 13
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 194 Member Member Posts: 194 Member
    PWHF wrote: »
    they are under a lot of stress, underfunded and can't just prescribe antibiotics anymore...

    Can't prescribe antibiotics anymore???? This is news.

    What makes you say that?
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,353 Member Member Posts: 1,353 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    spyro88 wrote: »
    It's also important to think about the wider impact of this idea of a tax on so called 'junk' foods.

    For example, a low income family might go to a fast food restaurant once a fortnight. It's their treat - it's affordable and a way for them to get out as a family and spend time together.

    This tax idea could make that financially unviable for them, when it is not doing them any harm and could actually be benefitting that family in terms of spending time together and having a treat.

    Are there other options and things they could do? Sure. But why take that away from them if it's something they love to do?

    This is not like smoking - it has much wider implications.

    I'm not a UK resident but I know there are taxes on alcohol in the UK. A low income couple might enjoy a bottle of wine occasionally. They have to pay the tax, how is this proposal any different?

    Wine is 100% optional - so again, different. For sure you could argue fast food is also optional but food is not.

    High calorie, low nutritional value food is 100% optional, just like wine, no difference.
    edited August 13
  • PWHFPWHF Member, Premium Posts: 222 Member Member, Premium Posts: 222 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    PWHF wrote: »
    they are under a lot of stress, underfunded and can't just prescribe antibiotics anymore...

    Can't prescribe antibiotics anymore???? This is news.

    What makes you say that?

    Because of the superbugs that were a result of over use of antibiotics:

    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antibiotics/antibiotic-antimicrobial-resistance/#:~:text=The overuse of antibiotics in,Clostridium difficile (C.

    Not saying they can't presrcibe them at all - but they are now the last resort.
    edited August 13
  • stevehenderson776stevehenderson776 Member Posts: 143 Member Member Posts: 143 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    Finally - a heavy handed approach???? Which brings us back to your incorrect assertion that we all got fat through chocolate and pizza. ;)

    People simply need to be helped as there are lots of reasons people get to the sizes they do, not bullied, not taxed and certainly not sent to their room without any supper.

    I'd love for you to point out specifically where I said "we all got fat through chocolate and pizza." For the life of me I can't remember ever in my life saying that so it would be interesting to see where I'm sleep posting opinions I don't have. ;-)

    Why we DO get fat however, is through overeating; primarily of calorie-dense foods and drinks (which can include chocolate and pizza, sure). I'm sure some will say that "Hey, 0.35% of obese people are like that through rare genetic disorders and other reasons which don't fit into your generalisations!", but that's neither here nor there. When deciding public policy, you generalise. You don't make it all about the edge cases.

    You make it out like I'm suggesting putting a 1000% tax on tortillas and white rice and making it impossible for everybody to afford any kind of food whatsoever, which is ridiculous. My problem is with the 2 litres of Coca-Cola you can get for $1 CAD, or the 3000 calorie bag of kettle chips for $2. And don't get me started on the childrens snack isle at the grocery stores where it's nothing but packets of sugary gummy treats at $2.99 for 2 dozen.

    As for healthy weight people getting caught up in this tax? So be it. Frankly, we're going to need every cent we can get our hands on from keeping our healthcare system from collapsing because this country (Canada) is more concerned about people overfeeding their cats than overfeeding their children (and themselves). If I have to pay an extra 50% on a pair of 2 for 1 $10 pizzas and an extra 500% on a 2L bottle of pop then I'm absolutely fine with that. As should be anybody who cares about our healthcare system. When you have a national healthcare system, then like it or not, obesity is no longer a private matter when it reaches epidemic levels. It requires a solution that goes well beyond putting calories on menus and putting PSA's out about the dangers of obesity that we've been ignoring since the 1970's.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,069 Member Member Posts: 24,069 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    Finally - a heavy handed approach???? Which brings us back to your incorrect assertion that we all got fat through chocolate and pizza. ;)

    People simply need to be helped as there are lots of reasons people get to the sizes they do, not bullied, not taxed and certainly not sent to their room without any supper.

    I'd love for you to point out specifically where I said "we all got fat through chocolate and pizza." For the life of me I can't remember ever in my life saying that so it would be interesting to see where I'm sleep posting opinions I don't have. ;-)

    Why we DO get fat however, is through overeating; primarily of calorie-dense foods and drinks (which can include chocolate and pizza, sure). I'm sure some will say that "Hey, 0.35% of obese people are like that through rare genetic disorders and other reasons which don't fit into your generalisations!", but that's neither here nor there. When deciding public policy, you generalise. You don't make it all about the edge cases.

    You make it out like I'm suggesting putting a 1000% tax on tortillas and white rice and making it impossible for everybody to afford any kind of food whatsoever, which is ridiculous. My problem is with the 2 litres of Coca-Cola you can get for $1 CAD, or the 3000 calorie bag of kettle chips for $2. And don't get me started on the childrens snack isle at the grocery stores where it's nothing but packets of sugary gummy treats at $2.99 for 2 dozen.

    As for healthy weight people getting caught up in this tax? So be it. Frankly, we're going to need every cent we can get our hands on from keeping our healthcare system from collapsing because this country (Canada) is more concerned about people overfeeding their cats than overfeeding their children (and themselves). If I have to pay an extra 50% on a pair of 2 for 1 $10 pizzas and an extra 500% on a 2L bottle of pop then I'm absolutely fine with that. As should be anybody who cares about our healthcare system. When you have a national healthcare system, then like it or not, obesity is no longer a private matter when it reaches epidemic levels. It requires a solution that goes well beyond putting calories on menus and putting PSA's out about the dangers of obesity that we've been ignoring since the 1970's.

    Can you clarify -- your initial statement was about taxing "calorie dense" food, but you don't want to tax rice and tortillas? It might help if you explain exactly what you have in mind, because people are responding to the statement about calorie dense foods, but you seem to be thinking of a very specific class of calorie dense foods.
  • ccrdragonccrdragon Member Posts: 2,790 Member Member Posts: 2,790 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    freda78 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    spyro88 wrote: »
    It's also important to think about the wider impact of this idea of a tax on so called 'junk' foods.

    For example, a low income family might go to a fast food restaurant once a fortnight. It's their treat - it's affordable and a way for them to get out as a family and spend time together.

    This tax idea could make that financially unviable for them, when it is not doing them any harm and could actually be benefitting that family in terms of spending time together and having a treat.

    Are there other options and things they could do? Sure. But why take that away from them if it's something they love to do?

    This is not like smoking - it has much wider implications.

    I'm not a UK resident but I know there are taxes on alcohol in the UK. A low income couple might enjoy a bottle of wine occasionally. They have to pay the tax, how is this proposal any different?

    Wine is 100% optional - so again, different. For sure you could argue fast food is also optional but food is not.

    High calorie, low nutritional value food is 100% optional, just like wine, no difference.

    And again, you are driving a thumb-tack with a sledgehammer! I can have a veggie/chicken pizza (which is not low nutrition) and you would punish me for having this because it is considered 'fast food'. Same argument goes for the person who gets a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun with veggies from their favorite 'to go' place.
  • stevehenderson776stevehenderson776 Member Posts: 143 Member Member Posts: 143 Member
    Can you clarify -- your initial statement was about taxing "calorie dense" food, but you don't want to tax rice and tortillas? It might help if you explain exactly what you have in mind, because people are responding to the statement about calorie dense foods, but you seem to be thinking of a very specific class of calorie dense foods.

    I don't have a specific tax bill ready for committee, unfortunately lol. My point is that policy makers with the capacity for research that our Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health have should be able to come up with a tax policy that's able to classify and tax certain foods/drinks at certain rates; and that this money should go to our strained healthcare budget.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,757 Member Member Posts: 5,757 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    Finally - a heavy handed approach???? Which brings us back to your incorrect assertion that we all got fat through chocolate and pizza. ;)

    People simply need to be helped as there are lots of reasons people get to the sizes they do, not bullied, not taxed and certainly not sent to their room without any supper.

    I'd love for you to point out specifically where I said "we all got fat through chocolate and pizza." For the life of me I can't remember ever in my life saying that so it would be interesting to see where I'm sleep posting opinions I don't have. ;-)

    Why we DO get fat however, is through overeating; primarily of calorie-dense foods and drinks (which can include chocolate and pizza, sure). I'm sure some will say that "Hey, 0.35% of obese people are like that through rare genetic disorders and other reasons which don't fit into your generalisations!", but that's neither here nor there. When deciding public policy, you generalise. You don't make it all about the edge cases.

    You make it out like I'm suggesting putting a 1000% tax on tortillas and white rice and making it impossible for everybody to afford any kind of food whatsoever, which is ridiculous. My problem is with the 2 litres of Coca-Cola you can get for $1 CAD, or the 3000 calorie bag of kettle chips for $2. And don't get me started on the childrens snack isle at the grocery stores where it's nothing but packets of sugary gummy treats at $2.99 for 2 dozen.

    As for healthy weight people getting caught up in this tax? So be it. Frankly, we're going to need every cent we can get our hands on from keeping our healthcare system from collapsing because this country (Canada) is more concerned about people overfeeding their cats than overfeeding their children (and themselves). If I have to pay an extra 50% on a pair of 2 for 1 $10 pizzas and an extra 500% on a 2L bottle of pop then I'm absolutely fine with that. As should be anybody who cares about our healthcare system. When you have a national healthcare system, then like it or not, obesity is no longer a private matter when it reaches epidemic levels. It requires a solution that goes well beyond putting calories on menus and putting PSA's out about the dangers of obesity that we've been ignoring since the 1970's.

    Can you clarify -- your initial statement was about taxing "calorie dense" food, but you don't want to tax rice and tortillas? It might help if you explain exactly what you have in mind, because people are responding to the statement about calorie dense foods, but you seem to be thinking of a very specific class of calorie dense foods.

    Apparently the UK currently has a tax on sugary sodas, and it looks like this one would be focused on foods that are both sweet and high fat: https://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/news/uk-health-campaigners-call-for-sweeping-calorie-tax-on-processed-foods.html
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,069 Member Member Posts: 24,069 Member
    Can you clarify -- your initial statement was about taxing "calorie dense" food, but you don't want to tax rice and tortillas? It might help if you explain exactly what you have in mind, because people are responding to the statement about calorie dense foods, but you seem to be thinking of a very specific class of calorie dense foods.

    I don't have a specific tax bill ready for committee, unfortunately lol. My point is that policy makers with the capacity for research that our Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health have should be able to come up with a tax policy that's able to classify and tax certain foods/drinks at certain rates; and that this money should go to our strained healthcare budget.

    So you support it, but you can't share what "it" is? This makes debate somewhat difficult, but if you're saying we should just trust whatever the government comes up with, then there is a chance that they could determine that rice and tortillas should be more heavily taxed. For proposals like this, the specifics do matter. They will be impacting the finances of people who may already be struggling to afford food.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,353 Member Member Posts: 1,353 Member
    ccrdragon wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    freda78 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    spyro88 wrote: »
    It's also important to think about the wider impact of this idea of a tax on so called 'junk' foods.

    For example, a low income family might go to a fast food restaurant once a fortnight. It's their treat - it's affordable and a way for them to get out as a family and spend time together.

    This tax idea could make that financially unviable for them, when it is not doing them any harm and could actually be benefitting that family in terms of spending time together and having a treat.

    Are there other options and things they could do? Sure. But why take that away from them if it's something they love to do?

    This is not like smoking - it has much wider implications.

    I'm not a UK resident but I know there are taxes on alcohol in the UK. A low income couple might enjoy a bottle of wine occasionally. They have to pay the tax, how is this proposal any different?

    Wine is 100% optional - so again, different. For sure you could argue fast food is also optional but food is not.

    High calorie, low nutritional value food is 100% optional, just like wine, no difference.

    And again, you are driving a thumb-tack with a sledgehammer! I can have a veggie/chicken pizza (which is not low nutrition) and you would punish me for having this because it is considered 'fast food'. Same argument goes for the person who gets a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun with veggies from their favorite 'to go' place.

    My comment was I was fine with taxing high calorie nutrient poor food. If the pizza or chicken sandwich you mention was not high calorie/low nutrient food (based on the definition established) it would not be taxed regardless of the source.
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