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The author puts benefit to the fact that taxing junk food would indeed reduce the rates of obesity, but he questions the duration it will take to see the positive effects. The author then comes up with a number of flaws that in his view would need to be put to consideration before implementing such policies.
According to the article taxing junk food raises questions like what exactly needs to be taxed, and how long it would take to see any results. It also raises the possibility of increasing the number of obesity cases, as opposed to reducing them. The author then argues that there is the need to confirm if there is a relationship between obesity and the junk food or else the policy may fail. According to the author, obesity can be linked to lack of exercise such that if people spend more time looking for healthy foods then there will be no time for exercise hence leading to increase in obesity cases.1
The article also touches on accessibility of fresh foods especially by the poor citizens. It also talks about the fact that citizens may not be affected by the prices and will continue to buy junk food all the same. The reasoning behind taxation on junk food focuses on the assumption that it will deter people from buying it and if they do then it will offset the economic costs of managing diseases caused by these unhealthy foods. The main conditions in this case are obesity which relates to high blood pressure and other coronary diseases.
The Economist agrees that indeed a tax on calories would reduce cases of obesity. However, the effect would be realized over long periods of time say 20-30 years. He gets support from Brownell, Farley et al. who confirmed that tax on sugar-sweetened beverages could reduce their consumption by around 25% and would in return reduce the cost of healthcare for obesity and overweight diseases.
The Economist then goes further to analyze whether there is any relationship between intake of junk food and obesity by asking
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