The "Fat Tax" Is It Coming to America?
Rising obesity rates are a growing concern in developed nations throughout the world, not just the United States. There are approximately 58 obesity related illnesses and health care systems world wide are scrambling for a means to pay for their costs of treatment.
In the United States it is estimated that 2 out of every 3 adults is now overweight and of this number 50% are clinically obese. Obesity related health care costs are currently estimated at $150 Billion annually.
Germany, one of the most obese nations in Europe had a 21% rate of obesity reported three years ago with an affiliated price tag of approximately $22 Billion.
Even Japan, a nation known for healthier dietary habits has seen such a growth in obesity that the government have stepped in and imposed fines on corporations with obese workers.
Specific states in the US have also followed suit planning disguised "fat taxes".
Alabama for example grants a lower cost of health care to its states workers that are BMI compliant and lead a healthy lifestyle.
The fact that lower weight individuals pay less has not gone unnoticed.
The debate is starting as to who is to blame for obesity and who should bear the cost of care.
Taxes on soda in the US and unhealthy snacks in Germany have been considered as a means to combat the obesity issue however many dispute the impact of such measures and claim it would be a tax on the poor that already have limited options.
“There is no disputing that obesity rates are higher among specific minorities within the United States however my judgement is that it is more related to economic issues than race”, states Steve Bordley CEO of TrekDesk.com. “Lower income individuals often lack access to safe venues for exercise and healthy low cost whole food options. In addition the diet/exercise education at lower economic levels is also a challenge.”
The focus should not be entirely on food choices however. sedentary lifestyles and workplace environments play a major role in the rise of obesity rates worldwide.
“Before we rush to judgement it would be wise to note emerging science that states that inactivity may be more dangerous than extra weight,” states Bordley. “Trying to tell an overworked, stressed employee to exercise more or be taxed won’t work, we need to devise methods to get them up and mobile throughout the day. We also need to incentivize individuals that are meeting health goals rather than penalize those that are not.”