Taxing Sweets: A Good Way To Prevent Childhood Obesity Or Overstepping Bounds?

Taxing Sweets: A Good Way To Prevent Childhood Obesity Or Overstepping Bounds? Read our parenting tips

We have talked before about our concerns regarding childhood obesity, and now we are approaching the concept of Taxing Sweets: A Good Way To Prevent Childhood Obesity Or Overstepping Bounds?  Despite the fact that the CDC has shown minimal if any increase in obesity in the last few years, they are still considering proposing an additional tax on those who are obese.  Is this something that could be used for good?  Do you think it is feasible and could be enacted?  We will discuss our thoughts about these possibilities below.

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TAXING SWEETS: A Good Way To Prevent Childhood Obesity Or Overstepping Bounds?

Is It Even Possible?

We already have food taxes in most states.  The only feasible way to actually tax what people deem to be bad foods, would be to increase existing taxes on specific items, yet would that really be possible?  Not all items with sugars, butters, fats, chocolates and other “bad” foods are truly bad for you.  These ingredients and even the finished product in moderation can be healthy in small doses.

Things to think about when debating taxing sweets:

  • Food taxes already exist, but charging for specific items could be a possibility.
  • Deeming what is a bad food to tax could be very difficult with the millions of brands, ingredients and products out there to consider
  • Would individual states adopt additional taxes on food when they already fight against taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.

Would it Help Prevent Childhood Obesity?

Limiting or penalizing people for what they eat is unlikely to actually help prevent obesity.  The reality is, that limiting things like illegal drugs, guns and other items has not prevented them from being used.  It has, in fact increased the consequences, but the use still exists.  I would presume the same would be the case in taxing sweets as well.

Things to think about:

  • People would be willing to spend the extra money for something they wanted.
  • There could be potential for “black market” for what is considered “bad” foods.
  • Those who are not obese would be punished for their purchases unjustly.
  • This could create what some would deem a new form of discrimination.

I truly don’t believe that taxing sweets or other bad foods is even a remote possibility.  Not only would it take miracles to have something like that passed into law in individual states, it would create a huge outcry from obese and fit people alike.  The problem is not simply what food we are eating, but our entire attitude toward health in the US.  We need to focus less on penalizing those who are obese, and more on education about food, nutrition and exercise.  If we can create better opportunities for those who are obese to eat healthy foods at a reasonable price, we are much more likely to fix this epidemic of size.

What do you think? Is taxing sweets the way to go, or is it crossing into slippery slope territory?

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8 thoughts on “Taxing Sweets: A Good Way To Prevent Childhood Obesity Or Overstepping Bounds?”

  1. I say NO! We know what is good for us and what is bad. So if we want OUR children to be HEALTHY, Us as parents are supposed to teach them how to make the right choices when it comes to food. Making sweets have more taxes doesnt teach our children how they should eat to be healthy.

  2. It’s a really interesting debate. To be honest, I don’t think that it would be the government “overstepping their bounds.” They exert all sorts of controls as a way of influencing spending choices (e.g., taxes on cigarettes, subsidies for nonrenewable energy), so I don’t see how this would be different.

  3. I think it’s a terrible idea. People will buy what they want, regardless if it costs a little extra. We just need to teach our children about eating healthy instead of simply taxing something. It’s about lifestyle change.

  4. I’m going to have to say NO… not a good idea. You can’t ‘police’ people’s diet. And adding a tax is basically doing just that. Do we need more education as to dietary needs VS wants? Yes. Should we put more $$ into healthy school lunch programs, ABSOLUTELY! But simply slapping a tax on sweets will not help people make better choices and lifestyle changes.

  5. No, I think this is a terrible idea. It’s not the sweets that are the problem. It’s food that sells as “normal” food that’s a problem.
    Breakfast cereal is a great big one. There’s a lot of sugar in it. It’s so unhealthy and it’s just normal.
    How about orange juice and a bagel.
    Granola bars….touted as healthy and full of sugar.
    Juice, 100% fruit juice has natural sugars in it, but a lot of juice has added sugars in it.
    Yogurt is not even supposed to be sweet, and still the second ingredient is sugar.

    Can you tell this is a bit of a soap box for me? Lol
    I say if you want a cookie or icecream go for it, but keep sugar limited in things that shouldn’t have it.

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