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UK government obesity strategy

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  • stevehenderson776stevehenderson776 Member Posts: 207 Member Member Posts: 207 Member
    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.

    That's why we have representative democracy. So the government can come up with specific policies from the publics broad strokes opinions. You can't say that "Well, unless you can list the specific tax rates of every food in existence then you can't POSSIBLY argue intelligently about a proposed tax." That's not a fair thing to ask of me, because it would quite literally take a multi-year committee of hundreds of politicians, statisticians, dietitians, doctors, industry leaders, lobby groups, etc to come up with the answer. Hell, they might even do it in such a way where your favourite foods come down in price. They could for instance replace sales tax on food with whatever formula they come up with; in effect making things like fruits and vegetables tax free. There are all sorts of interesting models to consider when it comes to this type of tax. What I can't do is tell you, "Well I think tortillas should be taxed at 15% and milk at 30% and white bread at 35%, etc, etc, etc." I think that, in broad strokes, there are junk foods and calorie dense foods/drinks that should be taxed at excise rates to A) discourage people from buying them in such large quantities, and B) help pay for our overburdened healthcare system. Hell, put an alcohol style tax on soft drinks in Canada alone and you'll bring in almost $10 billion a year.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,302 Member Member Posts: 24,302 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    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.

    So the idea is that menu items at the same restaurant will have variable tax rates? That seems . . . difficult to implement.
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 1,386 Member Member Posts: 1,386 Member
    I think we need to distinguish what this tax is supposed to accomplish before judging if it's 'bad' or 'good':
    - extra revenue (to be used for compensating the cost of healthcare for obese people), preferably from those who are draining healthcare ressources (or will in the future)
    - a dissuasive effect (keeping people away from certain foods/drinks because they are 'bad' and/or contribute to obesity)

    For extra revenue, it's clear that it won't hit the mark fully (those causing a 'drain on healthcare resources' or who will in the future) since not all obese people eat/drink these foods; and these foods/drinks are not only consumed by obese people putting a strain on the healthcare system. Whether or not that strategy is justified... I have no idea how well this kind of tax hits its mark, and it will depend highly on what foods and drinks are taxed. But if you want extra revenu, the tax shouldn't be so high that it deters people from buying these foods/drinks, so you basically want them to keep on consuming/maintain their bad habits in order to create revenue, which I personally find a bit 'iffy' morally speaking.

    For a dissuasive effect, I'm going to guess that the price increase would have to be pretty drastic. And in case of an actual dissuasive effect, the revenue from this tax would obviously decrease over time. Are there examples where this has worked? I don't know, but as a policy maker I would look at similar taxes elsewhere to see if it's a viable option for long-term changes in behavior before creating these types of taxes.

    (Side note, but in case of big price changes, an island has one major advantage: it's not so easy to find your food/drinks elsewhere. In Belgium, where I live, these taxe increases invariably end up providing a lower revenue than intended simply because our country is so small that we can cross the border to buy more cheaply abroad.)
    edited August 13
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,405 Member Member Posts: 1,405 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    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.

    So the idea is that menu items at the same restaurant will have variable tax rates? That seems . . . difficult to implement.

    Not really, at least 2 ways to do it.
    • Excise tax on the products as produced by the manufacturer similar to excise taxes on alcohol in the US. manufacturer pays. May be a bit tricky with things that can be "healthy" or "unhealthy" depending on how they are prepared but takes care of thing like sugary drinks, purchased cookies, cakes, chips, etc.
    • Most states have different tax rates on food vs other items purchased at a grocery store or supercenter, they seem to have fixed the issue.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,302 Member Member Posts: 24,302 Member
    Lietchi wrote: »
    I think we need to distinguish what this tax is supposed to accomplish before judging if it's 'bad' or 'good':
    - extra revenue (to be used for compensating the cost of healthcare for obese people), preferably from those who are draining healthcare ressources (or will in the future)
    - a dissuasive effect (keeping people away from certain foods/drinks because they are 'bad' and/or contribute to obesity)

    For extra revenue, it's clear that it won't hit the mark fully (those causing a 'drain on healthcare resources' or who will in the future) since not all obese people eat/drink these foods; and these foods/drinks are not only consumed by obese people putting a strain on the healthcare system. Whether or not that strategy is justified... I have no idea how well this kind of tax hits its mark, and it will depend highly on what foods and drinks are taxed. But if you want extra revenu, the tax shouldn't be so high that it deters people from buying these foods/drinks, so you basically want them to keep on consuming/maintain their bad habits in order to create revenue, which I personally find a bit 'iffy' morally speaking.

    For a dissuasive effect, I'm going to guess that the price increase would have to be pretty drastic. And in case of an actual dissuasive effect, the revenue from this tax would obviously decrease over time. Are there examples where this has worked? I don't know, but as a policy maker I would look at similar taxes elsewhere to see if it's a viable option for long-term changes in behavior before creating these types of taxes.

    (Side note, but in case of big price changes, an island has one major advantage: it's not so easy to find your food/drinks elsewhere. In Belgium, where I live, these taxe increases invariably end up providing a lower revenue than intended simply because our country is so small that we can cross the border to buy more cheaply abroad.)

    I am not an expert (clearly!), but I think people contemplating these types of taxes are thinking of cigarette taxes as an example. The goal of the tax on tobacco is to accomplish both the objective of gathering additional money from specific consumers of a product to help fund treating diseases that are a consequence of using the product and to increase the price of an item with the intent of making it harder for individuals to justify the continued use of the item.

    This, of course, has been combined with warning labels, much more information about the harm associated with smoking, generally shrinking the number of public and private spaces where people are allowed to smoke, and eliminating much of the neutral/favorable depictions of smoking in the media, so it's impossible to look at these in a vacuum.

    The main difference between a tobacco tax and a tax on food is that you can target smokers with a tax on cigarettes in a way that it is impossible to target the obese with a tax on food.

    Almost any type of proposed tax on specific food items is going to wind up 1) excluding the obese who are using foods outside of the stigmatized group to feed themselves and 2) include the non-obese who maintain a normal body weight while consuming stigmatized foods.

    It's also going to be a political/logistical quagmire to determine which foods are included. Even if you set aside the impact of various lobbies (which you can't really do, so it's just a thought experiment), the thought of having the government determine which foods should be taxed is really daunting. Are pork rinds a fatty snack food that should be taxed or are they a protein-rich smart choice for a keto diet? Is my sugar-sweetened greek yogurt a good addition to a healthy breakfast or a risk factor for eventual diabetes? Am I getting a tax exemption for my Swedish Fish candy if I can prove I'm only eating them as fuel for my long runs? If I swing through Taco Bell, do I get taxes waived for my first two fresco bean burritos and only pay taxes on the third and fourth unless I can prove I'm buying food to pay more than one person?
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,302 Member Member Posts: 24,302 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    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.

    So the idea is that menu items at the same restaurant will have variable tax rates? That seems . . . difficult to implement.

    Not really, at least 2 ways to do it.
    • Excise tax on the products as produced by the manufacturer similar to excise taxes on alcohol in the US. manufacturer pays. May be a bit tricky with things that can be "healthy" or "unhealthy" depending on how they are prepared but takes care of thing like sugary drinks, purchased cookies, cakes, chips, etc.
    • Most states have different tax rates on food vs other items purchased at a grocery store or supercenter, they seem to have fixed the issue.

    That doesn't address the proposal to charge extra taxes for some pizzas/sandwiches, but not others, when they're coming from the same restaurant. That was the situation, not whether or not we can charge different tax rates for food and non-food from the same store.

    If a restaurant sells a grilled chicken sandwich and a fried chicken sandwich, should they both be hit with the extra taxes? If not, how would that be administered?
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,405 Member Member Posts: 1,405 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    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.

    So the idea is that menu items at the same restaurant will have variable tax rates? That seems . . . difficult to implement.

    Not really, at least 2 ways to do it.
    • Excise tax on the products as produced by the manufacturer similar to excise taxes on alcohol in the US. manufacturer pays. May be a bit tricky with things that can be "healthy" or "unhealthy" depending on how they are prepared but takes care of thing like sugary drinks, purchased cookies, cakes, chips, etc.
    • Most states have different tax rates on food vs other items purchased at a grocery store or supercenter, they seem to have fixed the issue.

    That doesn't address the proposal to charge extra taxes for some pizzas/sandwiches, but not others, when they're coming from the same restaurant. That was the situation, not whether or not we can charge different tax rates for food and non-food from the same store.

    If a restaurant sells a grilled chicken sandwich and a fried chicken sandwich, should they both be hit with the extra taxes? If not, how would that be administered?

    Maybe you skip the chicken in this scenario. The following is a list of the top 10 source of calories in the American diet (I'd assume the UK would be pretty similar). The bolded categories would be pretty easy to identify as items with generally a poor nutrient to calories ratio.

    Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers, and granola bars)
    •Yeast breads
    •Chicken and chicken-mixed dishes
    Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks
    •Pizza
    Alcoholic beverages
    •Pasta and pasta dishes
    •Mexican mixed dishes
    •Beef and beef-mixed dishes
    Dairy Desserts
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,302 Member Member Posts: 24,302 Member
    Skip the chicken? As in order a chicken sandwich, hold the chicken? Order something else off the menu? I'm not sure what you're proposing exactly.

    Or do you mean we should skip the chicken in discussing the tax scenario and we wouldn't put additional taxes on chicken sandwiches at all, regardless of how they're prepared?

    I get what you're saying with the boldest list, but it seems to be based on the presumption that sweet foods contribute to obesity (and should be taxed), but savory foods are nutrient-rich enough that they shouldn't be subject to additional taxes. However, a food can be nutrient-dense and still contribute to obesity. I can have a 100 calorie sweet granola bar or 100 calories of Gatorade and still easily meet my calorie goals. If I go to a restaurant and have 1,500 calories of chicken enchiladas or pasta alfredo with chicken, I will struggle to meet my calorie goals. So why would we automatically tax the granola bar and leave the other items on the list alone?



  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,063 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,063 Member
    It's not about single foods or dishes, or even categories of foods.

    They're in the mix, but if we don't change food culture, taxing "fattening" individual foods/dishes will have little effect. (Activity is also in there.)

    The UK preposal is one set of steps. Will they "fix it" (the obesity crisis). Unlikely. Could they be part of building a slightly-slippery slope in a more positive direction? Possible.

    If our food culture keeps the feature (that's hugely increased over my lifetime) of it being normal to be pretty much non-stop grazing/drinking during all our waking hours, we still have a problem. If marketers are pushing 5-sandwich value deals, and sit-downs keep serving portions that could be measured in acreage, and those things seem normal and desirable to consumers, we still have a problem. If we have unaffordable 32oz (946ml) slushies, but purveyors replace them with affordable 32oz green smoothies sweetened entirely with whole fruit, we still have a problem. If our work and home lives continue to be machine-assisted/simplified, and our hobbies continuingly and increasingly about sit-down screen time, we still have a problem.

    There are multiple part of this, and no one set of actions "fixes obesity" in one sweep. (That's not how smoking reductions worked, in practice. There were many parts of it, and growing social disapproval was in there. And smoking was simple, compared to obesity.)

    The idea of taxing calorie dense, nutrient poor foods is IMO not a great one. Sure, we could pick out some key things, very clear definitions, like alcohol products or sugary sodas, and tax those higher. That's pretty straightforward.

    After that, we're in a realm IMO where all we do is create complexity that's easier for lobbyists to sub-visibly influence, that's easier for McDonald's than the local mom'n'pop pizza/sandwich place to comply with, and that can be gamed by food-product formulators. (Over time, for example, granola bars have moved from a healthy-ish thing (yeah, a little high cal, but some good stuff in there), to candy bars under another name - in that case, not due to regs, but due to people liking candy bars but wanting the health-halo that once came with "granola bar". (Protein bars are kind of the latest iteration into the candy-bar-ization of food products, IMO.) )

    Sure, maybe pick some clear, key items or categories to tax high. But things like diet guidance (soooo borrrrinnng) and marketing/advertising legal limits - like the UK proposals - are also reasonable things to include in the mix. No one thing solves the problem. High complexity regulation/taxation is IMO a bad plan - fosters bureaucracy, creates opportunities for gaming the rules, relatively low impact on positive outcomes from the added complexity.
  • FuzzipegFuzzipeg Member Posts: 2,006 Member Member Posts: 2,006 Member
    Here in the UK foods designated as "essential" are exempt of tax. So any cake or biscuit is tax free but chocolate is taxable, so a chocolate coated biscuit is taxed already. Move on to a cake any cake even one covered in chocolate its not taxed! Fizzy pop is currently taxed for the sugar content where as previously not. interestingly manufacturers had decreased the amount of sugar in the taxable drink before the tax came in, so the tax gain was reduced. Alcohol is taxed, its not essential. "Feminine hygiene" items are taxed but I though they are essential, necessaries.

    Food you eat in a premises is taxed, food you take away is untaxed, (I can't remember if we need a mask in a take away or not now, it changed. If we go into a Pub we do not need a mask, because we are eating/drinking. I assume eating and drinking protects one from the virus?!) We need a thorough review of our countries systems, tax, national insurance, health, social security, the lot.

    We need to reinstate domestic science as it was called by the school I attended. What happened to, Education, Education, Education. Naturally domestic science was a female subject and any boy who wanted to train as a chef was still expected to do wood work or metal work, man stuff but it was back in the '60's to be challenged in '66, he won. I've just remembered it became, Home Economics or at least in our neck of the woods. The objective in teaching our school and collage aged population would be they could teach their parents how to cook, though this will not give them extra time in which to do the food preparation.

    Overeating is not the only cause of being overweight. There can be genetic factors, metabolic factors. I hope the only other factor is, other than genetic or metabolic, is over eating! My Point is NICE, I forget the words it stands for. This health committee looks at the "care" we are offered and decides if it is, effective and worth the expense.

    So if you have a metabolic condition, hypothyroidism particularly, the NHS is not permitted to test the full range of endocrinological tests to establish the full facts of one's system. When it comes to treating the general population it matters not if you have antibodies which indicate you have an autoimmune condition, nor it is possible to have ones t3 tested, this is the active form of thyroid hormone. Iits irrelevant that this is the active form of hormone is needed by each and every cell in ones body and can be created in reverse because of mineral/vitamin deficiencies. Trivial conditions like Cushing's are linked to the endocrine system. The "dictate" is, a persons body always converts t4 to t3, forget there can be genetic factors, some are born unable to convert and others have familial traits. There is so much to being "healthy", dietary intolerances and allergies can make one fat, establishing if you have one is not an option for everyone, there are too many and the tests are too expensive. The only treatment for someone who is hypothyroid, with or without antibodies is synthetic iodine. The products available in the UK contain extracts of dairy, so because intolerances to dairy factor high in the autoimmune Hashimoto's community obviously one pumps the synthetic iodine into the patients systems, its a cheep solution but is it really.

    Our hospital beds are full of people who have Gaul Stones. It costs thousand's of UK £ to perform these operations.
    Arthritis is often diagnosed before hypothyroid is considered. The Human Growth Hormone comes from the same root as the converted t3 which is not even tested here. Cancer cells are failed cells in some way, a well functioning endocrine system will see off most those cells before they could do any damage.

    We could look at mental health. A body lacking sufficient active t3 very likely will express mental health issues of any of the possible diagnosis. Could be anorexia, some years ago there was a good London study which proved this but its not been instituted NICE. Excess Stress can be a similar consequence of poor t3 levels.

    So during the worst of the pandemic this far, we were told to "Protect the NHS", stay home. Don't hug let alone see the G.G. kids. and more.

    We were encouraged to stay away from the Hospitals because they were under pressure from covid. Visits to A& E were down, visits to doctors were down, cancer diagnosis's and treatments were suspended for the sake of keeping beds available for COVID. We were told, we would be lucky to keep under 20000 deaths, 160000 on and wait! Now the way our Covid deaths are assessed in England is to only count those who died within 28 days of the positive covid tests true its like the rest of the countries in the UNION, but how many persons lost their lives in intensive care after 4 weeks?

    Then there was, Test and Trace, the biggest problem, the system they trialed never got off the ground, now they are making use of "Local Environmental Services" having spent millions on something which did not work.

    So now its "loose weight and protect the NHS", is the latest "Sound Bite" to keep us in order.

    I like many others don't function on such magnanimity. My key reaction is self preservation which extends to my family, my neighbours and that person over there who I have never spoken too nor are likely to. I want better health services for them all. I know not everyone who is over weight will have endocrine issues, or allergies or intolerances but again those who have these issues are being condemned for being selfish and over eating when an appropriate preventative healthcare system could make all the difference and cost much less in the long run.

    We are being governed by Sound Bite, its snappy, keeps the people quiet except it confirms we were and still are misled by Sound Bite.

    Give us an adequate health system paid for by National Insurance or similar contributions, organised by something which sees beyond the end of the NICE committee room door. Then we will have the fit and healthy society we hard working Brits Deserve. We would be working for our and the community good. Our NHS is supposed to be free at the point of use to nationals but it fails too many right now.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,904 Member Member Posts: 5,904 Member
    Great points, Ann.

    One thing that strikes me is many of the most high cal meals -- the restaurant meals that Jane mentions -- are already quite expensive. If I order from or go out to a restaurant, there are additional costs already. A small restaurant tax, plus the markup, covering the space and someone else preparing the food, a tip, etc. Everyone knows it is way cheaper to eat at home, and yet people go out to eat. Making it even more expensive (in addition to punishing restaurants in a time when many are already going out of business, and further hurting the industry and the locality, doesn't seem reasonable).

    So there is fast food. It's still more expensive than cooking for yourself, but it is cheap and some might argue that it is too cheap. But if you focus on taxing fast food, that seems unfair as other restaurants are not, and it also seems like a tax intended to fall mostly on poorer people while exempting the places those making the law may like to eat.

    Dessert foods? We could do that, although the points Ann makes are significant. Alcohol? Already taxed. Soda? You could try that, although it's largely not been a success in the US (I thought the UK already had a tax on sugary beverages).
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,405 Member Member Posts: 1,405 Member
    Skip the chicken? As in order a chicken sandwich, hold the chicken? Order something else off the menu? I'm not sure what you're proposing exactly.

    Or do you mean we should skip the chicken in discussing the tax scenario and we wouldn't put additional taxes on chicken sandwiches at all, regardless of how they're prepared?

    I get what you're saying with the boldest list, but it seems to be based on the presumption that sweet foods contribute to obesity (and should be taxed), but savory foods are nutrient-rich enough that they shouldn't be subject to additional taxes. However, a food can be nutrient-dense and still contribute to obesity. I can have a 100 calorie sweet granola bar or 100 calories of Gatorade and still easily meet my calorie goals. If I go to a restaurant and have 1,500 calories of chicken enchiladas or pasta alfredo with chicken, I will struggle to meet my calorie goals. So why would we automatically tax the granola bar and leave the other items on the list alone?


    Agree 100% with the bolded.

    However the items I bolded are going to be on any honest list of high calorie, nutrient poor foods. Why not look at the significant few instead of discussing the trivial many when determining tax options?

    There are nutrient dense versions of the no-bolded items not so much with bolded ones.
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 220 Member Member Posts: 220 Member
    PWHF wrote: »
    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.

    So this is surely a good thing as prescribing them willy-nilly is expensive, helps not at all and as you say, can in fact cause actual harm.
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 220 Member Member Posts: 220 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. ;-)

    Your opening gambit was that certain foods should be taxed so the obese people who buy this stuff are therefore paying for the extra burden they put on the health service.

    If you do not recall that this was your position then I can only suggest you back and read again what you have been writing rather than suggesting I am making it up.
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 220 Member Member Posts: 220 Member

    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.

    Of course fat people are fat, in the main, because they consume more calories than they use - we all agree on that - and I have not once suggested an alternative of "genetic disorder".

    What however I am taking issue with is your caricature that to get fat you must have been gorging on fast food, sweets, cakes and crisps.

    For sure I ate too much but that is because I am an extremely good cook, am greedy I admit, but also because I have a tenancy to binge. I am not here going to get into the whys and wherefores of my binging and how I think this tendancy came into being but I will say, for the record, I have never had a Big Mac in my life.

    So.... the point I keep returning to is taxing chocolate is not an answer and instead we should be helping people.
    edited August 13
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 220 Member Member Posts: 220 Member

    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.

    I think I need to remind you we are discussing the UK here, not the USA.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,063 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,063 Member
    freda78 wrote: »

    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.

    I think I need to remind you we are discussing the UK here, not the USA.

    That's not the USA he's talking about either: We (USA) don't have a Ministry of Finanance or Health. Maybe Canada?
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 220 Member Member Posts: 220 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    freda78 wrote: »

    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.

    I think I need to remind you we are discussing the UK here, not the USA.

    That's not the USA he's talking about either: We (USA) don't have a Ministry of Finanance or Health. Maybe Canada?

    That'll teach me to assume. :D
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,405 Member Member Posts: 1,405 Member
    freda78 wrote: »

    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.

    I think I need to remind you we are discussing the UK here, not the USA.

    In any case, it's an interesting discussion. The US could at some point go to a national healthcare system. Even as it is now in the US government (state and federal) pay close to 50% of heathcare costs between medicare, medicaid, government employees, military, etc.

    The US needs to find ways to reduce/fund heathcare costs.
  • cgvet37cgvet37 Member Posts: 1,185 Member Member Posts: 1,185 Member
    steveko89 wrote: »
    I can't speak to UK culture but we're seeing a prime example of a "don't try to tell me what to do/how to live" attitude in the US right now as it pertains to COVID guidelines.

    Last I checked I'm free to eat what I want. Maybe you would prefer a Socialist Country
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