Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Should Ontario Tax Junk Food?

Ontario, the province that I live, work and eat in, is considering taxing junk food. More specifically, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), has suggested to the government, that this should come into being.
The OMA, in a press release yesterday, made the statement, with the usual eye-opening statistics.

  • Almost 1 in every 3 children (31.5%) is classified as overweight/obese. This has almost doubled since the 1980's.
  • Costs to Ontario's health care system due to obesity complications are in the range of 2.2-2.5 Billion dollars annually.
  • Tax incentives helped reduce the number of smokers in half over the last forty years.

Their recommendations are somewhat vague and include the usual "multi-pronged" approach.

  • Increasing taxes on junk food, and decreasing tax on "healthy" foods.
  • Restricting marketing of junk food to kids.
  • Placing graphic warning labels on pop and other non-nutritional foods. (a la cigarette cartons)
  • Restricting availability of junk food at sport/recreational facilities where kids frequent.
  • Legislating listing of caloric information on menu boards.
  • Enlisting an educational campaign.
  • Making Physical Education mandatory throughout high school.

I don't mind the concept of taxing junk food, but there are soooo many problems inherently built in. What is classified as "junk food". Who decides? What gets a "graphic label" put on their product.

Also, several of their recommendations already exist. "Healthy" food already is NOT taxed. Marketing is already restricted to kids on television. Educational campaigns already exist.

What do you think? Should we tax junk food like alcohol and tobacco?
Let me know!

Here's a great infographic on the massive amount of sugar we consume. Have a great day.

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