Task Three: Field Manual for Change
Junk Food Tax
The current issue of junk food consumption and the overall obesity battle in Australia continues to plague our nation. A suggestion to work against this problem is the implementation of a “junk food tax”. The aim of the tax is to minimize the consumption of unhealthits such as generating revenue for causes such as improving diet, preventing obesity, and educating Australians about y foods, which would ultimately lead to a healthier population. The tax would also provide other benefnutrition.
The main purpose of this tax is to maximize health benefits and abolish the obesity epidemic in a progressive manner. Fighting obesity and its various related illnesses starts with rethinking our current setting and the world we are living in. Australia is today ranked as one of the fattest nations in the developed world. Fourteen million Australians are overweight and more than five million Australians are obese. It has been stated that if weight gain continues at its current levels, by 2025, close to 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese. This is a disturbing truth that the nation cannot ignore as a minor problem.
The tax imposed would be incorporated onto store bought fatty foods and drinks and not just fast food restaurants. This would affect the purchasing decisions by the consumer to avoid buying vast amounts of bulk items and reduce the amount they buy when they eat at a fast food store. This would ultimately change the current lifestyle of the typical Australian, knowing the price of eating unhealthy can greatly affect them financially. The tax does impose the freedom of choice and personal liberties of all Australians, however the without change this nation will slowly be consumed by the exponentially growing problem of obesity
Over half of the nation eats fast food at least once a week with 20 percent eating fast food at least every other day. And high frequency consumers are more likely to increase fast food consumption because of economic pressure and are attracted to “value” dining options. The “value” menus are making junk food way too attractive of an option. Currently a typical Australian can go to buy junk food and get the same value of the healthy option and maybe even more. It is more convenient and the value provided is just too good to be passed. Implementing this fat tax would change this completely; instead consumers would reconsider what they buy to eat as food “value” would be completely altered. Ultimately it is the consumer that would choose what they eat and when however with this tax it would provide equilibrium between healthy and unhealthy food, cost wise.
Tax money collected from this program could be used to reduce costs of healthy foods. The program would also bring much needed encouragement to farmers, including subsidies, if necessary, to grow healthy, fresh food. Providing consumers with this choice would create a new way of living, a healthier way of life that can drastically reduce the numbers of people affected by obesity. The logic of a junk-food tax seems clear. Fattening foods tend to be cheap, and fresh produce and lean cuts of meat are often the priciest. A tax could help offset that imbalance, nudging people to eat more of what they should and less of what they shouldn’t.
Money could be returned to communities for local spending on gyms, pools, jogging and bike trails; and for other activities at food distribution. Scientific research can also be conducted with the tax money to help combat diseases such as diabetes, which more than 900,000 Australians suffer from. Other problems that are linked from obesity are high blood pressure, asthma, and hypertension and sleep apnoea, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. All life threatening problems that Australia as a nation has to acknowledge.
The need for this tax is dire; efforts to shift the national diet have failed, because education alone is no match for marketing dollars that push the very foods that are the worst for us. By profiting as a society from the foods that are making us sick and using those funds to make us healthy, Australia can take a step forwards to a more healthier country. Even though this plan is not completely full proof, it is a step to help combat the every growing problem of obesity that affects every Australian one way or another. There is not simple fix to the obesity problem however by working together as a nation and acknowledging that we do have a problem we can try and reduce the amount of people affected by obesity and provide future and current generations a new healthier and sustainable future.