Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Many policy options are being considered in different countries to discourage consumers from gorging on high fat foods which are incidentally are cheaper and tastier than nutritious foods. Fast food joints are banned near residential areas in some places in the US but the effect of such forceful denial of these high calorie density foods to craving consumers and hypothetically tackle the rampant obesity epidemic at best is marginal as has been brought our by some studies. Latest attempt to impose higher taxes on fast foods to make them costlier is an option being considered in some countries.

"Cheap, abundant corn enables mass production of economical, aggressively marketed beef and pork. The corn syrup that sweetens soft drinks and candy oozes from the same source. That's why it's so cheap to be fat and -- comparatively -- so expensive to be thin. In response, a comprehensive preventive health strategy should shift subsidies away from corn toward the production of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as organic farming, so healthier, more natural foods become as accessible as Happy Meals and tax fast food, soft drinks, and packaged foods high in processed fats and sugars to decrease demand for unhealthy food. A study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine recommends a tax on "sugar-sweetened beverages," projecting that for every 10 percent rise in price, consumption of soft drinks would decline a corresponding 8 to 10 percent, leading to weight loss and reduced health risks".

If history has some thing to offer, it is that making a product costlier does not deter the consumers from going for it as seen in the case of cigarette or alcohol. During the last 7-8 decades prohibition as a policy to prevent people from consuming alcoholic beverages failed miserably all over the world and to day governments themselves are selling liquor products in the name of preventing spurious and unsafe products that can harm the citizens. It is debatable whether that is the real intention of the governments or it is the massive revenues generated by this line of business!


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