It is obvious that junk food influences the health of nation negatively. The government can put a higher tax on any food item that is high in fat content, calories, and this will help to control the health of the nation. Some people argue that it will work. According to them, this tax can be used to cure health diseases caused by obesity. At the same time, others consider that such decision is not positive. In this essay, the pros and cons of "junk food tax" will be studied.
It is generally known that obesity problem is dramatic in modern America and other developed countries. According to the researches, about 36% of American adults are obese, and this rate is growing. The scientists predict that if the tendency continues, about 42% of Americans could become obese by 2030 (Sifferlin, 2012). Some people argue that higher tax on unhealthy food can help if the proceeds from the tax go to the treatment of obese people and obesity prevention measures. However, the situation is not so simple. Thinking that obesity is caused only by unhealthy food is stereotypical. There are many people who are obese because of genetics or other diseases that are not caused by eating unhealthy food. As a result, "junk food tax" will not help to prevent the real reasons of obesity.
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The general public knows well that unhealthy food causes many diseases making the risk to have them higher. They include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, infertility, and even cancer ("Top 10 Obesity-Related Diseases - The Truth About Being Obese", 2014). In addition, obese people often live not as long as healthy ones ("Risks of Obesity", n. d.). Therefore, unhealthy food tax is sometimes presented as a source of money to cure and prevent such diseases. However, the issue is more complicated. The diseases may be caused by many factors, such as heredity, environmental pollution, or stressful work, not always by the food. Therefore, the tax is meant to fight the consequences, but not the real reasons of diseases.
Some people provide an argument that tax on unhealthy food will make people buy more healthy food because the food they usually buy becomes more expensive. However, it is not likely to happen. First, the tax is expected to be not high - only several percent. As a result, the price of food will not be influenced seriously. Second, many people buy junk food because of their poverty. Healthy food usually costs more. For example, American Indians often live in reservations. They have low income and are not able to store healthy food. As a result, they are forced to buy junk food that costs not very much and often can be stored without electricity ("Largest American Indian Reservation Approves Junk-Food Tax to Fight Obesity", 2014). Therefore, the tax is likely to increase the food price but not to struggle with one of the reasons to buy it - poverty.
Unhealthy food tax is expected to make people buy healthy food. However, the real reasons to buy it are not considered. The poverty reason was already mentioned, and one more reason is the taste of junk food. It is tasty and stores for a long time due to food additives. Therefore, it would be wiser to require limiting the number of additives in junk food if the government wants it to be bought in lower amounts.
It is apparent that this situation with unhealthy food tax continues to be contentious. Proponents assert that this tax can prevent obesity and many diseases caused by eating unhealthy food. On the other hand, opponents continue to insist that the tax does not fight the real reasons of obesity and diseases: heredity, poverty, ecological problems, and food additives. The case was not solved because of its complexity and a failure to find the real causes for the obesity and health problems. Because of those issues, I think that the government will not put tax on fast food in the nearest future.
- Largest American Indian reservation approves the junk-food tax to fight obesity (2014). The Guardian.
- Risks of obesity (n. d.). Methodist Hospitals.
- Sifferlin, A. (2012). Fat forecast: 42% of Americans could be obese by 2030. Time.
- Top 10 obesity-related diseases - The truth about being obese (2014). Medi Weightloss.