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Denmark Imposes Fat Tax to Reduce Obesity

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Michelle Obama recently introduced the Let’s Move! plan to reduce the childhood obesity epidemic in the U.S. Some people expressed outrage over the changes to the food pyramid, as well, which is now a simpler "plate" broken up into four sections for fruits, grains, vegetables and proteins. While people weren’t very happy with these changes, the fact of the matter is that obesity is a serious problem in this country. In fact, the CDC estimates that about 1/3 of U.S. adults are obese and approximately 17% of children and adolescents (ages 2-19) are obese.

Many people will argue that it is their right to choose what foods they eat, as well as other lifestyle choices. But how would you feel if it actually cost money to be fat? Well, one country is already leading the way with this change: Denmark recently imposed a so-called "fat tax" on foods with high amounts of saturated fat. How much the fat tax costs is based on the amount of saturated fat in a food, but it comes out to be about $3 per 2 pounds of saturated fat.

Foods with the fat tax include everything from cheeseburgers, pizza, dairy products, and oils. Many Danes are feeling the pinch already and loaded up on these foods before the tax went into effect last weekend. It will be interesting to see if this experiment will translate into actual weight loss and better health. However, researchers do know that fat taxes have to be pretty high to change behavior.