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The current issue of junk food consumption Essay

The current issue of junk food consumption and the overall obesity battle worldwide continues to expand rapidly. The suggestion to counteract this problem is the implementation of a “junk tax”. ProQuest states that, “’junk food tax’ refers to a tax placed upon fattening foods or beverages” (Par. 1). The intention of the tax is to minimize the consumption of unhealthy foods, which would expectantly lead to a healthier population. A junk food tax would also generate revenue for causes such as: improving diet, preventing obesity, and educating Americans about nutrition. The main purpose is to maximize health benefits. However, the tax has sparked controversy about interfering with freedom of choice and personal liberties. Fighting obesity and its various related illnesses does not require cholesterol lowering medicine, workout videos, or diet books. It starts with rethinking our setting and the world we are living in.

Addressing the issue of over-weight and the lack of health in our modern life is no easy assignment, “despite some individual efforts by some states to tax soda pop, require healthier school lunches of mandate calorie information in chain restaurants, obesity rates worldwide are growing” (Cummins, Nd). Even though these efforts have continued to grow with parents and health advocates the problem needs to be acknowledged nation wide because, “60 percent of Americans of either overweight or obese” (Cummins Par. 5). With many restaurants offering super sized meals for such low prices, people consume well over the recommended calorie and food intake. Fast food restaurants being open twenty-four hours a day located on every corner causes temptation to be all around consumers. According to Rheuban.J (2007). Opponents claim that impressing such a law would be a violation to one’s rights and freedom. I strongly disagree with that.

To support their stance that the tax certainly will have no “actual affect on…public health” they site a bunch of studies,one : The Mercatus Center at George Mason University that Americans Against Food Taxes claims “that any impact of a soft drink tax would be trivial because soft drink consumption is a relatively small part of the diet for overweight people.” They suggest that financial affect of the tax could be extremely burdensome, especially on the poor. The cost is literally killing us. The low budget costs of junk food attracts in low budget customers. They stuff their carts with white bread, frozen packages, already packed desserts, and extremely processed meats. The low cost is satisfying for people living in the moment, However the long term effects can be dangerous. Poor diet choices is eating foods that were previously mentioned will lead to obesity. Obesity causes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, strokes, and respiratory problems, all of these cost substantial amounts to treat and if left untreated they can lead to death.

The low cost that pull in customers may in the end cost them their lives. Arguments in favor of junk food taxes, Reduce the costs of treating medical issues to which junk food contributes. Generate additional revenue, part of which could be used to offset costs of treating medical issues that arise from over consumption of junk foods. Could shift consumer spending to healthier foods, bolstering the industries that produce those foods. Not enough people are aware of the adverse effects of chemicals in foods (doctors included) so their purchases are based on affordability and addiction. They cannot put together why it is that they cannot eat just one chip, fail on restrictive calorie diets, binge, and/or continue to put on weight throughout their lives. The assumption is that these people lack the will to be healthy. The reality is that, in many cases, is that their subconscious mind is doing everything in its power to survive. According to Fiora.K(2010).

Patients gained significantly less of the calories from soda or pizza when it was a 10% increase in both prices, Penny Gordon-Larsen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and colleagues reported in the March 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.”Policies aimed at altering the price of soda or … pizza could be very effective mechanisms to steer adults towards a healthier diet and reduce long-term weight gain or insulin levels over time,” the researchers wrote. They calculated that an 18 percent tax on junk food would result in a 56-calorie decline in total daily energy intake. At the population level, that would translate to about five pounds per patient per year, along with significant reductions in the risks of most obesity-related chronic diseases, they said. Since their study looked at only a small number of foods, they called upon researchers to assess more in future studies.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Mitchell H. Katz and Dr. Rajiv Bhatia of the San Francisco Department of Public Health wrote that taxing is “an appropriate method of correcting for health and other social costs not accounted for in the private market cost.” However, they added, in addition to  unhealthy foods, policymakers should consider ways to reward healthy behaviors. A typical recommendation to an obese person is to restrict calories. The typical notion of “calories in calories out”. In doing so, the motivated dieter goes to the supermarket and buy items labeled diet which are conveniently labeled with caloric amounts. What they don’t see is the chemicals added in and/or understand what the short and long term effects of those chemicals are. During this caloric restriction time, he/she is foregoing adequate nutrients while ingesting chemical laden foods which promotes hunger (part of the marketing process), and training the body to prepare for starvation.

There is a simple solution to a very complex issue. Taxation of junk food is necessary for the future population. As of late, rates of chronic health diseases have skyrocketed, but are now beginning to level off with the improved education system increasing awareness of the side effects of junk food. This leveling off rate could experience a significant drop if excise taxation were implemented. As multiple studies, research, and projects suggest, an increase in prices of junk food would lead to a decrease in purchasing and consumption of such foods, and would lead to decrease in diet-related diseases.

Although junk food producers and business selling these products may find that the tax is unfair, the overall scheme of taxation is improving the health of our nation, for today and in the future. The benefit outweighs the cost, and taxation ultimately motivates producers and sellers of junk food to improve their product and provide healthier options to consumers. There are many issues discussed in current media surrounding the need to protect our planet through recycling and better fuel sources. The media does not realize that there will not be a need for our planet if no one is able to occupy it. There needs to be less consumption of junk food and taxation is the best plan to implement change for a happy, healthier, and existing future.

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Sources:
http://jacobrheuban.com/2009/12/27/arguments-for-and-against-junk-food-and-soda-taxes/ http://abcnews.go.com/Health/w_DietAndFitness/junk-food-tax-improve-health/story?id=10056236 (2013, 02). Junk Food Tax. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 02, 2013,


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