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Here it is, the world's first Fat Tax! Options · View
lafayettemister
Posted: Thursday, October 06, 2011 2:33:18 PM

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Joined: 10/4/2010
Posts: 6,342
Location: Alabama, United States
World's first Fat Tax


Are the Danish facing an era of dry toast? On Oct. 1, consumers in Denmark saw a sudden jump in the cost of many of their favorite bread-friendly products. The average price of a half-pound package of butter increased by 2.5 krone (or 45 U.S. cents). A pound of cheese rose from 34.5 krone ($6) to 36 krone ($6.50). And don't even think about lard. In a single day, the cost of a half-pound block of pork fat skyrocketed from 12 krone ($2.15) to 16 krone ($2.85) — a 35% increase. Thanks to a new fat tax, Danes are paying more for just about anything they might want to slather on a piece of bread.

Other countries have imposed tariffs on food and drink considered unhealthy, but Denmark is taking the "fax tax" appellation literally. In the name of reducing cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes, the law that went into effect on Saturday specifically targets saturated fats — the fats found most commonly in animal products like butter, cream, and meat. But few outside the government seem to think it's a good idea — or even a healthy one. (Read: "Bypassing Obesity for Alcoholism: Why Some Weight-Loss Surgeries Increase Alcohol Risk.")

The tax, the first of its kind in the world, imposes a 16 krone (roughly $3) hike per kilo of saturated fat on any food that contains more than 2.3%. Given current Danish consumption — they eat a lot of butter and sausage in Denmark — that should amount to somewhere around 82 million kilos (180 million lbs) of fat subject to the tax.

"At the political level there was a high degree of consensus for this law," says Tor Christensen, chief consultant for Denmark's Ministry of Taxation. "There was wide agreement about trying to improve the average Danish lifespan, about trying to improve the health of the Danish people." The tax was approved by nearly 90% of the Danish parliament. (See pictures of obesity rehab.)

It's not the first time that the Danish government has taken to regulating less-than-healthy foodstuffs. Sugar has long been subject to higher tariffs, though in its original incarnation, the tax was intended to raise revenue rather than improve public health. In 2004, Denmark became the first country in the world to ban transfats — the solid fats commonly used in snack foods and industrially produced baked goods. Experts say that ban has played a significant role in reducing rates of cardiovascular disease by over 30% in Denmark in the past several years.

People within the food industry aren't happy about the tax, however. "It's very frustrating how this has been implemented," says Poul Pedersen, managing director of Thise Mejeri, an organic dairy cooperative based in northern Denmark. Its 83 farmers produce 2,500 tons of butter per year — and all of them are facing diminished revenues now that they've had to raise prices. "We don't know by how much yet because it's very complicated to figure out, but of course we expect sales to go down," Pedersen says.

The tax applies to all saturated fats equally, regardless of whether they are contained in a McDonald's hamburger or a quart of milk from grassfed cows. That provision has particularly incensed the country's dairy farmers, who bristle at a categorization of their products as unhealthy, and whose recommendations, says Pedersen, were ignored by the government. "Of course we want people to eat heathfully," he says. "And no one should be eating a kilo of butter per day. But we in the dairy industry know that we produce a good and healthy product when it's eaten in moderation." (Can FoodCorps get America to eat healthfully?)

Restaurants too will feel the pain of the increasing costs. Christian Puglisi, chef of Copenhagen's highly-regarded Relae, hasn't yet raised menu prices, but knows he'll have to once he has tallied his purveyors' new invoices. The bureaucracy worries him less, though, than the tax's impact on the organic farms with which he does most of his business. "Organic is already more expensive than industrially produced [food], and the tax will just make it more so," Puglisi says. "But organic producers can't absorb the price increase the way that industrial can, so fewer people are going to be willing to buy it."

See five reasons to visit Copenhagen

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Although Danes have historically shown themselves willing to accept higher taxes that they deem beneficial to society, Puglisi doesn't believe this one fits that criteria. "The government says it wants to make people healthier, but it's talking with two tongues. It's just going to push more people to buy cheaper industrially produced products, rather than good food. It's insanely stupid."

Even medical professionals doubt the salutary effects of the law. "You can't predict the health effect of a food by looking at a single nutrient in it," says Dr. Arne Astrup, professor of human nutrition at the University of Copenhagen. "Take cheese, as an example. It's high in saturated fat, but it also contains calcium and protein that seem to change the fat's effect on the body. You would think that people who ate a lot of cheese would have higher risks of cardiovascular disease, but research has shown that's not the case." (See more on the fat tax in Denmark.)

With just under 10% of the population classified as obese, rates in Denmark are lower than Europe's 15% average, and fall significantly below the U.S.'s rate of 33.8%. Nevertheless, the average Danish lifespan of 79 years is lower than that of other Western European countries like Sweden (81.5 years), Spain (81.8 years) and France (80 years), a statistic that the departing center-right government (a center-left government took power on Oct. 3) hoped to improve with the tax.

However, Dr. Astrup says the tax ministry that proposed the measure is working with outdated data. "They based their decision on a report written in 2001," he says. "In 2001 all the available evidence suggested that we could achieve significant benefits by cutting saturated fats. But it turns out that a lot of that benefit came from cutting transfats, not saturated ones."

Many in Denmark believe the government was motivated more by financial concerns than health ones. Dr. Astrup is one of them. "This fat tax didn't evolve from proposals by the nutrition council," he says. "It was created wholly within the Tax Ministry because they were 1 billion krone ($180 million) short. They didn't do it to cut down on cardiovascular disease, they did it to close a budget gap."

If government estimates are correct (and the tax ministry itself admits that its predictions are rough), those 82 million kilos (180 million lbs) of taxable saturated fats should result in revenues of 1.3 billion krone ($233 million). Yet ministry advisor Christensen rejects the claim that the tax was motivated by the economic crisis and the government's need to generate new income. "Actually, the aim of this program of tax reform is to reduce taxes on labor, to reduce income tax," he says. "But the government has to find another source to make up the financing that it lost with those reductions. Instead of keeping income tax high, It decided to tax the unhealthy things."

Although public sentiment seems to be running against the tax, Christensen's reasoning has a fan in Sebastian Sejer, a 34-year-old graphic designer who lives outside of Copenhagen. "I know it's unpopular," Sejer says. "But I think it's a way to actually achieve something good while reducing the income tax. I work in advertising and I know that these small changes can make a difference in consumer behavior." (See more on Arizona's flab tax.)

Research on countries that have imposed cigarette and soda taxes largely indicates that he's right: increased prices do lead to at least moderately reduced consumption. But are dairy-loving Danes ready to give up their wholefat milk and cheese? Sejer's own behavior raises some doubts. He went shopping over the weekend, and ended up buying the same butter he always does. "I know it's a contradiction. But it's not going to affect what I eat."







When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
Guest
Posted: Thursday, October 06, 2011 8:21:25 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 470,343
There was an article on bloomberg this week about oral sex being more dangerous to men than cigarettes. Under the powers of the commerce clause, maybe we will see a cunnilingous tax down the road.
tubby1961
Posted: Friday, October 07, 2011 3:22:22 AM

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Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 2,074
Location: Down Under, Australia
If they ever start a fat person tax I'm in trouble..................


"Hey, don't knock masturbation! It's sex with someone I love." Woody Allen

"I am willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong." Samuel Goldwyn
Buz
Posted: Friday, October 07, 2011 7:03:00 AM

Rank: The Linebacker

Joined: 3/2/2011
Posts: 5,165
Location: Atlanta, United States
The government interferes where it has no business! Big Brother will turn us all into brainless cattle herding us into a zombie state of nothingness. Individualism will not be tolerated!

(it does not mean that other women that don't fit that perfectly and all are not attractive to me, its just that I have a favorite 'turn me on the most' look.)

I have written a new poem. It is called 'Long Twisty Woman.'
You can read it at: http://www.lushstories.com/stories/erotic-poems/long-twisty-woman.aspxx
Also, if you wish, check out my co-authored a story with the wonderful DanielleX. It is called 'Focus on Sex.'
You can read it at: http://www.lushstories.com/stories/quickie-sex/focused-on-sex-1.aspx

Buz
Posted: Friday, October 07, 2011 7:04:34 AM

Rank: The Linebacker

Joined: 3/2/2011
Posts: 5,165
Location: Atlanta, United States
oops that last sentence was an accident goes with another post! I forgot to click the preview.... haha

I have written a new poem. It is called 'Long Twisty Woman.'
You can read it at: http://www.lushstories.com/stories/erotic-poems/long-twisty-woman.aspxx
Also, if you wish, check out my co-authored a story with the wonderful DanielleX. It is called 'Focus on Sex.'
You can read it at: http://www.lushstories.com/stories/quickie-sex/focused-on-sex-1.aspx

Guest
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 5:01:41 AM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 470,343
i sorta feel like we are brainless cattle already not being able to control ourselves to the point where we are all fat and sick...so much so that our governments feel they have to come in and make rules...like nannies to errant children. maybe if there were a better sense self control and personal responsibility then we wouldnt need to have boundaries set for us.
Guest
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 10:09:41 AM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 470,343
LittleMissBitch wrote:
i sorta feel like we are brainless cattle already not being able to control ourselves to the point where we are all fat and sick...so much so that our governments feel they have to come in and make rules...like nannies to errant children. maybe if there were a better sense self control and personal responsibility then we wouldnt need to have boundaries set for us.


You know, I agree. We scream about our freedoms all the time. If I wanna eat frickin McD's all day everyday then I will. The people scream. Then, when they get fat, have diabetes, and other obese related illnesses, they sue McD's for making them fat! WTF? Let's tie up the already mangled court system with stupid BS like that and not take responsibility for our own actions.
But, wait! Let's carry that a step further with cigarettes. I'll smoke them if I want to it's my body and my right as an American to do as I damn well please. But wait, when they get cancer, COPD or some other smoke related illness, let's sue R.J.Reynolds!!! And yes, I know you don't have to be a smoker to get cancer or COPD so don't get your panties in a bunch. evil4
LadyX
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 10:16:22 AM

Rank: Thread Mediator

Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,658
Location: United States
chefkathleen wrote:
LittleMissBitch wrote:
i sorta feel like we are brainless cattle already not being able to control ourselves to the point where we are all fat and sick...so much so that our governments feel they have to come in and make rules...like nannies to errant children. maybe if there were a better sense self control and personal responsibility then we wouldnt need to have boundaries set for us.


You know, I agree. We scream about our freedoms all the time. If I wanna eat frickin McD's all day everyday then I will. The people scream. Then, when they get fat, have diabetes, and other obese related illnesses, they sue McD's for making them fat! WTF? Let's tie up the already mangled court system with stupid BS like that and not take responsibility for our own actions.
But, wait! Let's carry that a step further with cigarettes. I'll smoke them if I want to it's my body and my right as an American to do as I damn well please. But wait, when they get cancer, COPD or some other smoke related illness, let's sue R.J.Reynolds!!! And yes, I know you don't have to be a smoker to get cancer or COPD so don't get your panties in a bunch. evil4


LOL

It does raise a worthwhile question though: aside from whether we "should" have the freedom to essentially kill ourselves through our own health choices ('because the founding fathers...', you know the rest of that rant). Can we handle it? If we're essentially becoming a nation of fat-ass corn-syrupped, trans-fatty, beached-whale diabetics, getting worse every day, isn't that proof positive that we can't?
lafayettemister
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 10:23:43 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 10/4/2010
Posts: 6,342
Location: Alabama, United States
LadyX wrote:
chefkathleen wrote:
LittleMissBitch wrote:
i sorta feel like we are brainless cattle already not being able to control ourselves to the point where we are all fat and sick...so much so that our governments feel they have to come in and make rules...like nannies to errant children. maybe if there were a better sense self control and personal responsibility then we wouldnt need to have boundaries set for us.


You know, I agree. We scream about our freedoms all the time. If I wanna eat frickin McD's all day everyday then I will. The people scream. Then, when they get fat, have diabetes, and other obese related illnesses, they sue McD's for making them fat! WTF? Let's tie up the already mangled court system with stupid BS like that and not take responsibility for our own actions.
But, wait! Let's carry that a step further with cigarettes. I'll smoke them if I want to it's my body and my right as an American to do as I damn well please. But wait, when they get cancer, COPD or some other smoke related illness, let's sue R.J.Reynolds!!! And yes, I know you don't have to be a smoker to get cancer or COPD so don't get your panties in a bunch. evil4


LOL

It does raise a worthwhile question though: aside from whether we "should" have the freedom to essentially kill ourselves through our own health choices (because the founding fathers...etc etc). Can we handle it? If we're essentially becoming a nation of fat-ass corn-syrupped, trans-fatty, beached-whale diabetics, getting worse every day, isn't that proof positive that we can't?


I completely agree with you Chef.

LX, we should have the freedom. Because not everyone suffers from chronic stupidity. We all have habits that aren't super healthy. I eat way too much fatty and salty food. I fucking love potato chips, it is my weakness. But if I gain 200lbs from eating them you have my permission to bitch slap me. Here's the problem. Fat taxes and the sort punish everyone. Kinda like when one or two kids in school misbehave and the whole class misses recess. It's unfair. Many people are able to eat fatty foods or indulge in other things in a responsible manner. They know when to stop, they have willpower. If government intervenes then it takes away the discretion from those that have it.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
LadyX
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 10:28:10 AM

Rank: Thread Mediator

Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,658
Location: United States
lafayettemister wrote:
LadyX wrote:
chefkathleen wrote:
LittleMissBitch wrote:
i sorta feel like we are brainless cattle already not being able to control ourselves to the point where we are all fat and sick...so much so that our governments feel they have to come in and make rules...like nannies to errant children. maybe if there were a better sense self control and personal responsibility then we wouldnt need to have boundaries set for us.


You know, I agree. We scream about our freedoms all the time. If I wanna eat frickin McD's all day everyday then I will. The people scream. Then, when they get fat, have diabetes, and other obese related illnesses, they sue McD's for making them fat! WTF? Let's tie up the already mangled court system with stupid BS like that and not take responsibility for our own actions.
But, wait! Let's carry that a step further with cigarettes. I'll smoke them if I want to it's my body and my right as an American to do as I damn well please. But wait, when they get cancer, COPD or some other smoke related illness, let's sue R.J.Reynolds!!! And yes, I know you don't have to be a smoker to get cancer or COPD so don't get your panties in a bunch. evil4


LOL

It does raise a worthwhile question though: aside from whether we "should" have the freedom to essentially kill ourselves through our own health choices (because the founding fathers...etc etc). Can we handle it? If we're essentially becoming a nation of fat-ass corn-syrupped, trans-fatty, beached-whale diabetics, getting worse every day, isn't that proof positive that we can't?


I completely agree with you Chef.

LX, we should have the freedom. Because not everyone suffers from chronic stupidity. We all have habits that aren't super healthy. I eat way too much fatty and salty food. I fucking love potato chips, it is my weakness. But if I gain 200lbs from eating them you have my permission to bitch slap me. Here's the problem. Fat taxes and the sort punish everyone. Kinda like when one or two kids in school misbehave and the whole class misses recess. It's unfair. Many people are able to eat fatty foods or indulge in other things in a responsible manner. They know when to stop, they have willpower. If government intervenes then it takes away the discretion from those that have it.


I agree with you, it was (mostly) a rhetorical question. There's no justifiable way, or logical backing, for yanking various things off the table for fear that they might be abused. Damn near anything becomes dangerous if mis- or over-used. Nevertheless, clearly we Americans can't handle the freedom very well in many cases.
lafayettemister
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 10:33:53 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 10/4/2010
Posts: 6,342
Location: Alabama, United States
LadyX wrote:
lafayettemister wrote:
LadyX wrote:
chefkathleen wrote:
LittleMissBitch wrote:
i sorta feel like we are brainless cattle already not being able to control ourselves to the point where we are all fat and sick...so much so that our governments feel they have to come in and make rules...like nannies to errant children. maybe if there were a better sense self control and personal responsibility then we wouldnt need to have boundaries set for us.


You know, I agree. We scream about our freedoms all the time. If I wanna eat frickin McD's all day everyday then I will. The people scream. Then, when they get fat, have diabetes, and other obese related illnesses, they sue McD's for making them fat! WTF? Let's tie up the already mangled court system with stupid BS like that and not take responsibility for our own actions.
But, wait! Let's carry that a step further with cigarettes. I'll smoke them if I want to it's my body and my right as an American to do as I damn well please. But wait, when they get cancer, COPD or some other smoke related illness, let's sue R.J.Reynolds!!! And yes, I know you don't have to be a smoker to get cancer or COPD so don't get your panties in a bunch. evil4


LOL

It does raise a worthwhile question though: aside from whether we "should" have the freedom to essentially kill ourselves through our own health choices (because the founding fathers...etc etc). Can we handle it? If we're essentially becoming a nation of fat-ass corn-syrupped, trans-fatty, beached-whale diabetics, getting worse every day, isn't that proof positive that we can't?


I completely agree with you Chef.

LX, we should have the freedom. Because not everyone suffers from chronic stupidity. We all have habits that aren't super healthy. I eat way too much fatty and salty food. I fucking love potato chips, it is my weakness. But if I gain 200lbs from eating them you have my permission to bitch slap me. Here's the problem. Fat taxes and the sort punish everyone. Kinda like when one or two kids in school misbehave and the whole class misses recess. It's unfair. Many people are able to eat fatty foods or indulge in other things in a responsible manner. They know when to stop, they have willpower. If government intervenes then it takes away the discretion from those that have it.


I agree with you, it was (mostly) a rhetorical question. There's no justifiable way, or logical backing, for yanking various things off the table for fear that they might be abused. Damn near anything becomes dangerous if mis- or over-used. Nevertheless, clearly we Americans can't handle the freedom very well in many cases.


I know it was rhetorical. But you know me, I've been described as long-winded and verbose. lol I just had to add to it.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
Jack_42
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 11:24:01 AM

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Joined: 8/21/2009
Posts: 978
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
During WWII the UK government created rationing so in the main you had no choice about a healthy diet - though absolutely boring. Statistics show this was the healthiest period of the 20th Century. Don't get me wrong I don't approve of such draconian methods however it does you give food for though (if you'll pardon the pun).
Guest
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 1:20:11 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 470,343
Gotta admit it was a good pun tho Jack.
Here's a thought, if we're allowed to police ourselves then, do we become big brothers to everyone? We're sitting in McD's eating a salad(as if that would happen) and in walks a porker that orders 2 big macs. So do we gently tell her or him not to over eat that the government will take away our freedoms of choice? OR and here's a corker for ya, we go into McD's and are over weight or obese. The government has in place waivers that you must sign and abide by, no loop holes, that you will not sue Ronald cause your ass got bigger and you had a heart attack thereby costing the tax payers millions cause no one can afford insurance anymore. And even if you could they wouldn't pay for everything so you skip on your medical bills causing rates to go ever higher.
Guest
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 3:50:14 AM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 470,343
LadyX wrote:
chefkathleen wrote:
LittleMissBitch wrote:
i sorta feel like we are brainless cattle already not being able to control ourselves to the point where we are all fat and sick...so much so that our governments feel they have to come in and make rules...like nannies to errant children. maybe if there were a better sense self control and personal responsibility then we wouldnt need to have boundaries set for us.


You know, I agree. We scream about our freedoms all the time. If I wanna eat frickin McD's all day everyday then I will. The people scream. Then, when they get fat, have diabetes, and other obese related illnesses, they sue McD's for making them fat! WTF? Let's tie up the already mangled court system with stupid BS like that and not take responsibility for our own actions.
But, wait! Let's carry that a step further with cigarettes. I'll smoke them if I want to it's my body and my right as an American to do as I damn well please. But wait, when they get cancer, COPD or some other smoke related illness, let's sue R.J.Reynolds!!! And yes, I know you don't have to be a smoker to get cancer or COPD so don't get your panties in a bunch. evil4


LOL

It does raise a worthwhile question though: aside from whether we "should" have the freedom to essentially kill ourselves through our own health choices ('because the founding fathers...', you know the rest of that rant). Can we handle it? If we're essentially becoming a nation of fat-ass corn-syrupped, trans-fatty, beached-whale diabetics, getting worse every day, isn't that proof positive that we can't?



yes! but only if we dont ask the rest of the population to pay for us in the end ;)
hobbhorn
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 10:13:09 PM

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Joined: 2/8/2011
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Location: Andrews
Influencing improved societal health is a noble goal and vastly difficult to do without pissing off some segment of society or more likely some segment of business and the strong lobby behind them. Those we have elected to make sound choices for us must choose from a wide array of levers they can push or pull to teach us, incentivize us about behaviours leading to better health outcomes OR threaten us with ugly consequences associated with bad choices. We live in a world where many people simply do not understand the consequences of sustained bad choices when it comes to food and drink. They haven't been taught. Education is one lever. Sin taxes have been used as another lever -- applied to booze and smokes among other things. So taxing things known to be bad for you --- or perhaps addictive --- is nothing new. I think it is a larger question -- should taxes be used as a disincentive? are taxes truly a disincentive or just a money grab by governments knowing we will pay? I don't agree with a fat tax; instead I think we need to figure out how to do a better job to educate our population about healthy choices.
lafayettemister
Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 6:58:44 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 10/4/2010
Posts: 6,342
Location: Alabama, United States
hobbhorn wrote:
Influencing improved societal health is a noble goal and vastly difficult to do without pissing off some segment of society or more likely some segment of business and the strong lobby behind them. Those we have elected to make sound choices for us must choose from a wide array of levers they can push or pull to teach us, incentivize us about behaviours leading to better health outcomes OR threaten us with ugly consequences associated with bad choices. We live in a world where many people simply do not understand the consequences of sustained bad choices when it comes to food and drink. They haven't been taught. Education is one lever. Sin taxes have been used as another lever -- applied to booze and smokes among other things. So taxing things known to be bad for you --- or perhaps addictive --- is nothing new. I think it is a larger question -- should taxes be used as a disincentive? are taxes truly a disincentive or just a money grab by governments knowing we will pay? I don't agree with a fat tax; instead I think we need to figure out how to do a better job to educate our population about healthy choices.



Here's the telling sentence in that article that answers your question.

"This fat tax didn't evolve from proposals by the nutrition council," he says. "It was created wholly within the Tax Ministry because they were 1 billion krone ($180 million) short. They didn't do it to cut down on cardiovascular disease, they did it to close a budget gap."

It's a money grab. All sin taxes are money grab because they target only parts of the population.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
lafayettemister
Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2012 8:13:05 AM

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Joined: 10/4/2010
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Location: Alabama, United States






When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
Guest
Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2012 8:35:54 AM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 470,343
Vegetable growers v. cattle ranchers. Guess who will win? Does Vegas have odds on this yet?
lafayettemister
Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 11:33:49 AM

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Joined: 10/4/2010
Posts: 6,342
Location: Alabama, United States
The ever rising costs of America's obesity. Soaring costs of obesity

Some quotes:

U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.

The startling economic costs of obesity, often borne by the non-obese, could become the epidemic's second-hand smoke. Only when scientists discovered that nonsmokers were developing lung cancer and other diseases from breathing smoke-filled air did policymakers get serious about fighting the habit, in particular by establishing nonsmoking zones. The costs that smoking added to Medicaid also spurred action. Now, as economists put a price tag on sky-high body mass indexes (BMIs), policymakers as well as the private sector are mobilizing to find solutions to the obesity epidemic.

The U.S. health care reform law of 2010 (Obamacare) allows employers to charge obese workers 30 percent to 50 percent more for health insurance if they decline to participate in a qualified wellness program. The law also includes carrots and celery sticks, so to speak, to persuade Medicare and Medicaid enrollees to see a primary care physician about losing weight, and funds community demonstration programs for weight loss

Because obesity raises the risk of a host of medical conditions, from heart disease to chronic pain, the obese are absent from work more often than people of healthy weight. The most obese men take 5.9 more sick days a year; the most obese women, 9.4 days more. Obesity-related absenteeism costs employers as much as $6.4 billion a year, health economists led by Eric Finkelstein of Duke University calculated.

Obese men rack up an additional $1,152 a year in medical spending, especially for hospitalizations and prescription drugs, Cawley and Chad Meyerhoefer of Lehigh University reported in January in the Journal of Health Economics. Obese women account for an extra $3,613 a year. Using data from 9,852 men (average BMI: 28) and 13,837 women (average BMI: 27) ages 20 to 64, among whom 28 percent were obese, the researchers found even higher costs among the uninsured: annual medical spending for an obese person was $3,271 compared with $512 for the non-obese. Nationally, that comes to $190 billion a year in additional medical spending as a result of obesity, calculated Cawley, or 20.6 percent of U.S. health care expenditures.

One recent surprise is the discovery that the costs of obesity exceed those of smoking. In a paper published in March, scientists at the Mayo Clinic toted up the exact medical costs of 30,529 Mayo employees, adult dependents, and retirees over several years. "Smoking added about 20 percent a year to medical costs," said Mayo's James Naessens. "Obesity was similar, but morbid obesity increased those costs by 50 percent a year. There really is an economic justification for employers to offer programs to help the very obese lose weight."

Blue Bird is widening the front doors on its school buses so wider kids can fit.

Hospitals, too, are adapting to larger patients. The University of Alabama at Birmingham's hospital, the nation's fourth largest, has widened doors, replaced wall-mounted toilets with floor models able to hold 250 pounds or more, and bought plus-size wheelchairs (twice the price of regulars) as well as mini-cranes to hoist obese patients out of bed

=====================================

Excuse me, I need to go workout.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
Guest
Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 8:55:07 AM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 470,343
How about just making healthy food cheaper and replacing fast food resturants on the high street for healthier options such as fish/pasta/vegatable bars instead?
SITTING
Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 9:02:36 AM

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Location: Leeds, United Kingdom
Aboyforu wrote:
How about just making healthy food cheaper and replacing fast food resturants on the high street for healthier options such as fish/pasta/vegatable bars instead?


Because people want the fatty food. And it'll be hard to kick it off because some takeaway owners earn their entire livelihood by feeding people cheap processed meat. It's not their fault; they give the people what they want and reopening as some salad bar will only result in them losing most of their customers. In an ideal world, the streets would be ruled by healthy food but it's just not plausible.

Oh, and what was that thing about Pizza Hut changing into Pasta Hut? Did they totally abandon the idea? Serious question btw.

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Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 10:05:56 AM

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SITTING wrote:


Because people want the fatty food. And it'll be hard to kick it off because some takeaway owners earn their entire livelihood by feeding people cheap processed meat. It's not their fault; they give the people what they want and reopening as some salad bar will only result in them losing most of their customers. In an ideal world, the streets would be ruled by healthy food but it's just not plausible.

Oh, and what was that thing about Pizza Hut changing into Pasta Hut? Did they totally abandon the idea? Serious question btw.


I don't think that's completly true. I know a lot of people who would rather have the choice to eat healthier for them and their children.
A lot of people do like to eat healthy and avoid fast food chains. Go to a sushi bar in the center of London, they are always packed out with people who enjoy actual real food.
Having the choice to eat healthy food with just as much ease as it is to eat processed rubbish would greatly encourage people to make better choices as to what they will stick in their mouths.
As for the pasta hut idea, that's just as ironic as Mcdonalds take on sponsering the London olympics, farcical!
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Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 2:18:57 PM

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Aboyforu wrote:

Having the choice to eat healthy food with just as much ease as it is to eat processed rubbish would greatly encourage people to make better choices as to what they will stick in their mouths.


They do have that choice at most fast food places. They just choose not to exercise that right. McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's as well as Arbys and KFC all offer salads, fruit, juice, wraps and low calorie/carb selections. It's just not as popular as their "normal" food. Plus instead of a 12 ounce Coke you can SUPERSIZE it for a "just" a dollar more and go out with a half gallon of soda instead!

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Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 2:40:33 PM

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chefkathleen wrote:


They do have that choice at most fast food places. They just choose not to exercise that right. McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's as well as Arbys and KFC all offer salads, fruit, juice, wraps and low calorie/carb selections. It's just not as popular as their "normal" food. Plus instead of a 12 ounce Coke you can SUPERSIZE it for a "just" a dollar more and go out with a half gallon of soda instead!



Yes but the quality is poor and still filled with salts. As someone who takes real care about my diet, I would only eat even their 'healthy' meals in moderation as it's filled with salts and sugars and passed off as being 'healthier', the quality is still dire.
Where I live, there is one large hight street and a couple of shopping centre, we have a total of 3 Mcdonalds in that one highstreet. There is also pizza hut, Nandos and KFC. Im' not saying we should do away with fast food, just give us health concious people a fighting chance of being able to eat real fresh, decent food whilst out on our highstreets. The spanish do it, the Italians do it as well as other countries all around Europe so why can't we?

Most of Europe don't have an issue with obesity and from what I have seen around these countries, it's because their streets are not filled with the grease shops, instead they dine in little eateries and cafes where they make local fresh food instead of ordering in pre-packed plastic foods.
WanKaDDict
Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 4:02:40 PM

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Fat tax is a load of crap and an excuse for crappier politicians...

What the government need to do is ban unhealthy food and I dont mean butter, lard etc. I mean Coke/cola, processed foods, milk shakes with added fat, "diet" coke etc etc.

This is what makes people fat, food with crap in which tastes really good and drinks which says no sugar but just make you hungry - so you eat more.

Dont get me started on diet foods, eating empty products doesn't help you still have the cravings for food so you eat more/other foods to feel full.

Magic diets/diet companies - they dont work because if they did the companies wouldn't make money and would go out of business.

Eat normal foods and fresh if poss - and normal sized quantities don't pig out, you'll all be fine.

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Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 6:04:09 PM

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Aboyforu wrote:


Yes but the quality is poor and still filled with salts. As someone who takes real care about my diet, I would only eat even their 'healthy' meals in moderation as it's filled with salts and sugars and passed off as being 'healthier', the quality is still dire.
Where I live, there is one large hight street and a couple of shopping centre, we have a total of 3 Mcdonalds in that one highstreet. There is also pizza hut, Nandos and KFC. Im' not saying we should do away with fast food, just give us health concious people a fighting chance of being able to eat real fresh, decent food whilst out on our highstreets. The spanish do it, the Italians do it as well as other countries all around Europe so why can't we?

Most of Europe don't have an issue with obesity and from what I have seen around these countries, it's because their streets are not filled with the grease shops, instead they dine in little eateries and cafes where they make local fresh food instead of ordering in pre-packed plastic foods.


I think you should go to their websites and see what's in the food. I think you'd be surprised at what they're trying to do for nutrition minded people. I have a friend that has two of the franchises in my area and he's told me they're trying to reduce fat, salt and sugar. It still boils down to what sells and what the individual orders. They have to take responsibility for their own actions. I know McD's for one tailors their offerings to the demographic that the store is located in. Not all offer McRib or McPizza for instance. But in our region they're working with local farmers to use the freshest produce they can. They're already committed to reducing sodium and sugars in their menus.
As for offering the kinds of foods your looking for in your "highstreets", again it's what the market will bear. If there was a need for it I'm sure someone would open one. A lot of places have one or two or fifty people say they want a health food place then when it's open they fail because the customers aren't there or the prices aren't what the average person can afford.
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Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012 12:28:19 AM

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Well I stand by my opinion, greater choice would lead to better decision making. As for the actual fat tax, we already have in place with pastry products and chocolate having more value added tax put onto it, it will probably filter down to other foods too. We get taxed to the hilt on petrol, ciggerettes and alcohol now, of course they will tax on other non essentials. They got to try and claw back monies lost in the banking crises and taxing peoples pleasures is a tried and tested method of squeezing more money out of the public. So fat tax has rolled out in Europe already, question next what they will try to squeeze next.
lafayettemister
Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012 9:58:49 AM

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Greater choice has been an option. You can offer salad and tofu all day long at any fast food restaurant. But if no one eats it and the business loses money on it, it won't be on the menu any longer. You can offer all the choices you want, but if a place sells hamburger at a 100 to 1 ratio over salad, guess which one gets the emphais?





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Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012 2:38:23 AM

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lafayettemister wrote:
Greater choice has been an option. You can offer salad and tofu all day long at any fast food restaurant. But if no one eats it and the business loses money on it, it won't be on the menu any longer. You can offer all the choices you want, but if a place sells hamburger at a 100 to 1 ratio over salad, guess which one gets the emphais?



This is what I am getting at. Fastfood places will always sell less of healthy stuff and more of the junk food, that's a given. You don't go to a brothal for a cuddle, you're not going to a junk food chain to eat a salad for the most part. The concept is easy, ease back on the fastfood chains, open up more decent eateries, deli's, pasta bars and sushi bars. Stop saturating the hight street with countless Maccy D's. KFC's and pizza huts.
Europe are far healthier than Britain and no doubt the U.S becuse there isn't a Macdonalds or KFC every few yards.
I travel around Europe a lot, it works. People take better care of their eating, they are educated better as to food nutrition and their pallets are far more refined.
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Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012 8:03:46 AM

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Oh I see what you're getting at Mark. But the thing is, it's usually about the almighty dollar. And why not? Someone starts a business to make money. To make a living. If that's what sells, then that's what will be offered. Right or wrong that's how it happens.
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