Could a tax on junk food could be an attack on the obese?

Today, the host of the  popular CBC Radio show White Coat, Black Art, Dr. Brian Goldman, weighed in ( pun intended) on whether junk foods should be taxed. He went on to say public health officials should use the strategy employed in getting smoking down to all time lows- making it  eating junk foods a socially unacceptable behaviour.  On the surface, this is one of a number of  potentially great strategies health officials could use to make eating junk food on a regular basis a socially unacceptable practice.

However, when you think about junk food eating, which segment of the population comes to your mind?  Who do you think eats more junk food- obese people or ‘normal weight’ people?  To answer these questions, click on this link which features the story our good doctor provided some very detailed comments on: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/blog/could-a-donut-tax-save-lives-1.2814510   The photo of the person sitting down over a plate of ‘junk food’ with bottles of pop within hands’ reach is the exact reason why I ask the question, could a tax on junk food backfire into being an attack on the obese?

In my more than 20 years as a Dietitian Health Coach, I have seen clients with health issues associated with poor lifestyle choices such as eating too much ‘junk food’ guess what? many of them were of ‘normal body weight’! They looked nothing like the person in the above article.  I truly understand the need to take a public health approach to improving the overall health profile of Canadians. We must do so  though with a lot of  critical analysis.  Though well-intentioned an approach such as taxing junk food could make this fat-phobic world of ours even more critical and judgemental of those whose physical size is not considered ‘normal’.

Phyllis Reid-Jarvis, Mph, RD, PCC

Life Coach Educator and Director of Ultimate Potentials

Because everybody is not the same we know that nutritional needs, food preferences and eating habits as well as overall health outcomes will be different. We also know from our more than 20 years’ experience working with families that if the family is healthy and has a solid foundation on which to operate, they will make better eating choices, they will experience better health outcomes and they will experience life in general in a more positive and healthy way.

The IDARE Life Program is used to help families achieve their nutrition and health goals together.

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