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Should we impose a 'fat tax' on junk food?

FATTY FOOD: Should food like chips and burger have a fat tax?

EACH WEEK we ask two writers with contrasting opinions to debate the question…


YES
VALENTINA ETAGHENE

I fully support the idea of imposing a ‘fat tax’ on soft drinks in the UK. The consumption of 5,727 million litres of fizzy drinks alone helps contribute to the UK’s rising figures of childhood obesity.

According to the Department of Health, there are “62.8% of adults aged 16 or over in the UK who are currently overweight” (and obese for that matter.)

It doesn't help that in London today, there are so many take away outlets on every street tempting young schoolchildren into buying an ‘after school snack.’

I was a victim, lured in to every sweet shop and somewhat bullied into spending my pocket money because I was pressured into buying the latest sweets and soft drinks just to fit in with the ‘cool’ crowd.

It comes as no surprise that kids today haven’t heard of water because of all the artificial drinks they have been consuming on a daily basis. They are all hooked on the sugar craze!
I feel that it is definitely due to a lack of education and knowledge of the products; the kids have no idea what they are consuming.

I believe we need to work together as a community to tackle the issue because Britain is still known to be one of the fattest countries in Europe. I wonder why….?

The food charity Sustain have every right to push for the campaign of taxing soft drinks. It is imperative that this happens sooner rather than later.

Hopefully the slight price increase will put school children off from spending unnecessary money on these damaging soft drinks.

And the money raised will provide funding for more fruit and vegetables within school meals, which is what the UK needs!

It's the responsibility of the government to put things into place, not the parents.

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NO
NYIMA PRATTEN

In the UK, one in four adults is classified as obese and one child in three is already obese or overweight before they finish primary school. We know that Britain is the fattest country in Europe but will a tax on unhealthy foods, specifically soft drinks, really make a difference and change obese peoples’ mindsets? I think not.

The food and farming charity, Sustain, recommended a 20p-per-litre tax levy on soft drinks. Many organisations supporting Sustain believe that this tax would help save lives by reducing sugar in our diets and raise money to protect children's health by funding things such as free fruit and meals in school.

But why should we all have to pay for the mistakes of ignorant people who can’t control their children’s, or their own, sugar intake? A better way of solving childhood obesity is to go to the root cause of the problem and educate, or even tax, the families with obese children.

I was taught from a young age to eat junk food in moderation and was rarely given soft drinks.

This habit has stuck with me through to adulthood and I only drink soft drinks on the odd occasion, when there is a splash of vodka involved, and rarely eat junk food.

However, I for one do not want to be charged extra on the off chance that I do want to buy a soft drink. I do not want to be punished for faults made by the overweight and overindulged.
A healthy attitude towards food begins at home to set children on track for a healthy, fit and rewarding adult life. It is not the place of the government to impose taxes in order to control peoples’ sugar consumption.

What’s next - enforced calorie counting?

In my view, if a child becomes obese, then those parents have failed in their duty of care, not the government.

The 'Head to Head' column is by the London 360 reporters. To find out more about what our reporters are up to go to communitychannel.org/london360 WE ARE LONDON!

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