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Obesity tax?

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Linkypoo

Editor's note: David Paterson, a Democrat, is governor of New York.

New York Gov. David Paterson says taxing soft drinks could help combat obesity.

ALBANY, New York (CNN) -- Like many New Yorkers, I remember a time when nearly everyone smoked. In 1950, Collier's reported that more than three-quarters of adult men smoked. This epidemic had a devastating and long-lasting impact on public health.

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a new public health epidemic: childhood obesity.

What smoking was to my parents' generation, obesity is to my children's generation. Nearly one out of every four New Yorkers under the age of 18 is obese. In many high-poverty areas, the rate is closer to one out of three.

That is why, in the state budget I presented last Tuesday, I proposed a tax on sugared beverages like soda. Research has demonstrated that soft-drink consumption is one of the main drivers of childhood obesity.

For example, a study by Harvard researchers found that each additional 12-ounce soft drink consumed per day increases the risk of a child becoming obese by 60 percent. For adults, the association is similar.

If we are to succeed in reducing childhood obesity, we must reduce consumption of sugared beverages. That is the purpose of our proposed tax. We estimate that an 18 percent tax will reduce consumption by five percent.

Our tax would apply only to sugared drinks -- including fruit drinks that are less than 70 percent juice -- that are nondiet. The $404 million this tax would raise next year will go toward funding public health programs, including obesity prevention programs, across New York state.

The surgeon general estimates that obesity was associated with 112,000 deaths in the United States every year. Here in New York state, we spend almost $6.1 billion on health care related to adult obesity -- the second-highest level of spending in the nation.

Last year, legitimate concerns about links between consumption of fast food and the prevalence of heart disease prompted New York City to ban the use of trans fats in restaurant food.

No one can deny the urgency of reducing the rate of obesity, including childhood obesity. Obesity causes serious health problems like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It puts children at much greater risk for life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

We must never stigmatize children who are overweight or obese. Yet, for the sake of our children's health, we have an obligation to address this crisis. I believe we can ultimately curb the obesity epidemic the same way we curbed smoking: through smart public policy.

In recent decades, anti-smoking campaigns have raised awareness. Smoking bans have been enacted and enforced. And, perhaps most importantly, we have raised the price of cigarettes.

In June, New York state raised the state cigarette tax an additional $1.25. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, this increase alone will prevent more than 243,000 kids from smoking, save more than 37,000 lives and produce more than $5 billion in health care savings.

These taxes may be unpopular, but their benefits are undeniable. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, for the first time in generations, fewer than 20 percent of Americans smoked. Lung cancer rates have finally begun to decline. As a result, we are all healthier.

Just as the cigarette tax has helped reduce the number of smokers and smoking-related deaths, a tax on highly caloric, non-nutritional beverages can help reduce the prevalence of obesity.

To address the obesity crisis, we need more than just a surcharge on soda. We need to take junk food out of our schools. We need to encourage our children to exercise more. And we need to increase the availability of healthy food in underserved communities.

But to make serious progress in this effort, we need to reduce the consumption of high-calorie drinks like nondiet soda among children and adults.

I understand that New Yorkers may not like paying a surcharge for their favorite drinks. But surely it's a small price to pay for our children's health.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Paterson.

Discuss.

Personally, I like the measure and think we'll see it expand to more states. If parents are going to let their kids get fat, might as well make them pay. I wouldn't even complain if it were to effect energy drinks or coffee-based drinks, which I drink more often than soda.

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This is tougher than the tobacco issue. Tobacco is inherently bad for you.

We have to have food and water. That someone can't regulate it is a self-control thing. Some people are fat as teenagers and fat as adults. Some are thin/normal and morph into fat people. Very few go the other way. Metabolism changes. I used to be always be about 10 lbs. underweight as a teenager. I am now anywhere from 5 to 12 lbs. overweight at any given time. We can't dictate metabolism, stress levels, body chemistry, etc. We can, however, tax the hell out of tobacco, alcohol and beer, none of which are even necessary.

Maybe we can put a height/weight test at the entrance to buffets. Those are my nemesis. However, some people shouldn't even be allowed near one.

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I'm pretty good at avoiding most buffets...though I have a weakness for Indian ones and good Chinese ones. I'm about 25-30 lbs overweight for my height. I'm 50 pounds more than I was 10 years ago..not good. Need to exercise more and spend less time on a computer.

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I agree that obesity can genetic related, and trying to control it by taxing foods that may not be healthy is a form of controlling what we can and cannot eat. You could stretch this even further if you wanted and claim that this 1.) Goes against freedom to CHOOSE what we want to eat/drink.

If you don't want your kids to get fat and it isn't genetic, than you have the power to not buy unhealthy foods. Otherwise you have no one to blame but yourself if you choose to buy them and give it to your children.

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how bout just ending corn subsidies...and wheat and all those others.... lol

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Let's make eating illegal, that'll make everyone lose weight, and who needs to eat anyway?

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People play the "genetics" card on obesity way too much. Obesity rates have been skyrocketing for the last decade or two, so unless some sort of weird natural selection is taking place wherein naturally thin people are unable to reproduce, its a completely bogus argument.

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People play the "genetics" card on obesity way too much. Obesity rates have been skyrocketing for the last decade or two, so unless some sort of weird natural selection is taking place wherein naturally thin people are unable to reproduce, its a completely bogus argument.

I do agree, however it (gut) does run in my dad's side of the family, as far back as my Great Grandfather that I know of. Nothing runs in my mom's side of the family. You can see this in the I look more like my dad, including the gut, my brother got more genes from my mother, and he's skinny as a twig, and we eat the same food. Go figure.

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This whole plan is crazy. I am overweight and have started a diet... Will see how that will go.

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Why not add a tax to pornography online and offline and the toy stores? LOL They'd make a ton. HEHE :yes:

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I think a tax is the wrong way to go about it. Put another way: if I'm thin and work out, why should I be charged more for a cola than bottled water?

I think the best way to go about it is the employers and insurance companies who tie health benefits to obesity.

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I think a tax is the wrong way to go about it. Put another way: if I'm thin and work out, why should I be charged more for a cola than bottled water?

I think the best way to go about it is the employers and insurance companies who tie health benefits to obesity.

That is just as crazy.

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There is also a problem in the definition of 'obese', because the simple formula does nothing to account for frame size or muscle mass. Now, this won't apply to children, but it's inheritantly flawed WRT adults.

-- -- -- -- --

http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

Underweight = <18.5

Normal weight = 18.5-24.9

Overweight = 25-29.9

Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

-- -- -- -- --

I could lose 10 lbs but not -say- 20; I'm built real solid & my BMI is a whopping 30.7. According to the Gov, I'm "obese" and I would need to lose almost 60 lbs to put me in the middle of "normal". I'd have to saw off a leg at the hip and then start a diet to even approach that.

The sugared soda tax is ridiculous, IMO. Diet soda's artificial sweeteners should never have been approved, I cannot drink diet because Nutrasweet crystalizes and settles in the joints, painfully. I usually drink iced teas as opposed to soda, but those have as much sugar as soda- are they going to be taxed next ?? It's an obvious money grab for poorly managed budgets.... let's call it what one could- a bailout for the failed policies of city government. The last thing people need in this economy is a laundry list of new taxes (isn't it something like 132 proposed new taxes?).

Why not just prohibit sodas & teas & sweetened juices to kids under 18 if they were serious about health.... ohh, right; because it's really about money, not health.

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That is just as crazy.

How so? Frankly, I think it's outrageous for thin, in shape people to subsidize the healthcare of lardasses. Which we do.

I used to be very large, but I'm fine now. It really isn't that hard, either.

ETA:

Regarding Balth's point: I don't use BMI for those reasons. When I say overweight and obese, I'm using body fat percentages. There are size 2 women out there who are nothing but lard despite thin dimensions...and they're just as poorly off as the 300+ pounders.

Edited by Croc
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How so? Frankly, I think it's outrageous for thin, in shape people to subsidize the healthcare of lardasses. Which we do.

I used to be very large, but I'm fine now. It really isn't that hard, either.

ETA:

Regarding Balth's point: I don't use BMI for those reasons. When I say overweight and obese, I'm using body fat percentages. There are size 2 women out there who are nothing but lard despite thin dimensions...and they're just as poorly off as the 300+ pounders.

Yeah, BMI isn't really accurate. I'm a bit overweight, but I'm still a size 38 waist (6'0", 225). Definitely not Ohio/West Virgina style obese (50 inch waist, barely able to get around, etc).

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Yeah according to BMI, I'm overweight. :(

Anyhow, while I agree with limiting things like trans-fats, I don't agree with taxing those of us that eat 'bad foods' in moderation, and exercise.

Then again, I guess already up here in Canada with public health care, I'm already subsidizing people's unhealthy habits and lifestyles. <_<

Edited by Captainbooyah
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How about tax intensives for the organic stuff? You want people to eat health, but the truly healthy stuff is considerably more expensive than the artificial stuff.

Edited by Dodgefan
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Wow...

I can't even drink a f*cking Dr. Pepper anymore without some douche bag sticking his nose in my business.

I think this is the dumbest thing I've heard in a while. Talk about LIMITATION of freedom...

Jesus, what's next? A yearly household masturbation tax because excess use of lotion and Kleenex is bad for the environment?

I got an idea... And it's a novel one... (Dr. Cox sarcastic tone) How about... PARENTS take responsibility for their kids, and stop screwing with my life. (/Dr. Cox sarcastic tone)

Yay for living in america! Home of the [supposedly] free!

Maybe we can put a height/weight test at the entrance to buffets. Those are my nemesis. However, some people shouldn't even be allowed near one.

Then people who weigh close to 400lbs, like myself, would be discriminated against. (Think I'm very obese? Check the photo thread for the answer)

Let's make eating illegal, that'll make everyone lose weight, and who needs to eat anyway?

Ah, hell... With the way things are going on Wall Street and with (GM/etc.) unemployment, soon enough they WON'T EVEN HAVE TO MAKE IT ILLEGAL TO EAT.

I think the best way to go about it is the employers and insurance companies who tie health benefits to obesity.

That's a GREAT idea :rolleyes:

Someone has been 'out of commission' with a disability for a year, gains 10-15 lbs and is dropped from their insurance...

:nono:

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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Wow...

I can't even drink a f*cking Dr. Pepper anymore without some douche bag sticking his nose in my business.

I think this is the dumbest thing I've heard in a while. Talk about LIMITATION of freedom...

I'm sure instead of a consumption tax, the obese can buy carbon credits to offset their consumption eventually.. :)

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..but that would get offset by their increased, pro-rated GDP contribution... :wacko:

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Wow...

I can't even drink a f*cking Dr. Pepper anymore without some douche bag sticking his nose in my business.

I think this is the dumbest thing I've heard in a while. Talk about LIMITATION of freedom...

Jesus, what's next? A yearly household masturbation tax because excess use of lotion and Kleenex is bad for the environment?

I got an idea... And it's a novel one... (Dr. Cox sarcastic tone) How about... PARENTS take responsibility for their kids, and stop screwing with my life. (/Dr. Cox sarcastic tone)

Yay for living in america! Home of the [supposedly] free!

Damn FOG, that one made me fall off my chair! :rotflmao:

Granted, I do agree. And it starts with the parents...

I've lost 15 pounds in the last few months (though not all of that was be choice), and it will be nice to set an example to my little guy.

Edited by daves87rs
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..but that would get offset by their increased, pro-rated GDP contribution... :wacko:

Not necessarly..the po' fat each cheap fatty foods, so they spend less on food than the healthy organic food consumers.

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There is also a problem in the definition of 'obese', because the simple formula does nothing to account for frame size or muscle mass. Now, this won't apply to children, but it's inheritantly flawed WRT adults.

-- -- -- -- --

http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

Underweight = <18.5

Normal weight = 18.5-24.9

Overweight = 25-29.9

Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

So, according to this I'm WAY into the obesity range.

If I dropped 100 lbs I would STILL be OVERWEIGHT.

If I dropped 110 lbs I'd be "normal weight"

So, I'm supposed to be 6'9", roughly 230 lbs? Yeah, right.... :rolleyes:

The sugared soda tax is ridiculous, IMO. Diet soda's artificial sweeteners should never have been approved, I cannot drink diet because Nutrasweet crystalizes and settles in the joints, painfully. I usually drink iced teas as opposed to soda, but those have as much sugar as soda- are they going to be taxed next ?? It's an obvious money grab for poorly managed budgets.... let's call it what one could- a bailout for the failed policies of city government. The last thing people need in this economy is a laundry list of new taxes (isn't it something like 132 proposed new taxes?).

Yet that's exactly what we're going to get... SOMEONE has to pay for the elites to maintain their lifestyle.

Why not just prohibit sodas & teas & sweetened juices to kids under 18 if they were serious about health.... ohh, right; because it's really about money, not health.

+1

And as for the smoking :bs: that's going on right now...

My dad smoked around me all of my life... I have ab-so-lute-ly HORRIBLE allergies and sinus problems. I get headaches that I have to lie down for, I have to take meds everyday, even a change in barometric pressure will give me a headache. I HATE smoking and everything associated with it. Yet I *STILL* feel that it is wrong to tell people they cannot smoke in open air areas and "smoking sections"

And as far as 'the truth' and all that :bs: More of my generation smokes than ever before... All it did was make a bunch of lawyers filthy rich and ruin 'some' of our economy here in NC.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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I'm sure instead of a consumption tax, the obese can buy carbonation credits to offset their consumption eventually.. :)

*fixed, LOL.

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