In in a bid to get Britain eating more healthily, Politicians are considering pushing forward controversial plans to tax unhealthy food. The controversial measures hope to curb childhood obesity and stop the nation’s growing health problems. There has been a decrease in the number of fruit and vegetables people in every age group have been eating in the last few years and an increasing expenditure on energy dense products like eggs, butter, beverages and sugar in each household. The NHS estimates just over a quarter of the UK can be classified as obese, whilst a staggering 42% of men were found to be overweight in 2010. With all the sugary foods being consumed, it’s no surprise that more and more people are turning to cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening to get some of their self confidence back as the nation faces a moral dilemma on how best to solve this problem.
Mike Rayner is a staunch supporter of the tax, which he believes could help save thousands of lives a year by curbing obesity and helping to stop people from filling their bodies with harmful chemicals. He believes that the country is in the middle of a crisis, and only swift action from the government can save it from the crushing pressure of its own weight. He praised Denmark’s “fat tax”, which penalises food that is high in saturated fat and said that a similar measure should be taken in the UK. He does however, note that the tax would need to be well thought out and customised for the country, because many of the low fat foods here are very high in salt instead. After being questioned about the issue by two senior politicians, he admitted that a tax itself wasn’t enough and obviously attempts to educate people about nutrition would be important. This sort of action is already underway; some of the largest corporations in Europe have recently made moves to help customers understand exactly what they’re eating by agreeing to a standardised system of labelling across the EU.
However, many people are anxious about these plans. Although they would accomplish a noble end, the means by which that end is reached are coming under increased scrutiny. Many argue that by taxing people for eating certain products, the government is interfering far too much in people’s lives. Is it not, they argue, every individual’s right to choose what they want to eat, and to feel the consequences? When the Conservative party formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, one of the things that they promised was the removal of the “nanny state”, which refers to a government who is overly protective or restrictive to its people. Voters are therefore alarmed by this recent turn of events, as it seems as if the coalition intends to treat the citizens of Britain as little more than naughty children. They wonder what is next: today unhealthy food is taxed to stop people from eating poorly, tomorrow treatment for teeth whitening or starchy products may suffer a similar fate to save the nation’s dental hygiene. The protesters come from every background, from those that can afford to eat on minimum wage as it is, to the likes of Terry Wogan who believes that his diet should be his own choice. As he points out, food isn’t the only cause of obesity, so does these activists plan to tax cars and all the other things that make modern life easier? The issue is a very controversial one and, with both sides digging in for a long fight, it doesn’t look like it will be over anytime soon.
Steve Broad is a writer with experience in magazine columns, short articles and editing. He is the author of this article on Tooth Whitening in London. For more information Read about Dentist in London.
The UK is Facing an Obesity Crisis