Fat Tax Essay

Words: 2850
Pages: 12

ABSTRACT

Obesity is an epidemic that is sweeping the United States at a rapid speed, and it kills. Obesity is responsible for killing more people than anything else, except for smoking. It affects people of all ages, races, income levels, and geographic locations. Obesity brings with it a myriad of problems that the individuals who suffer from it face, as well as social problems that are felt by people in all walks of life. There are astronomical costs that are attributed to it, being paid by society in the form of medical fees, unemployment benefits, and other miscellaneous costs. This report proposes that these costs and problems need to be addressed, and one avenue through which they can be is a junk food tax. This report
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Her patients have just gotten fatter, she said (personal interview, July 29, 2008). Every generation since the beginnings of obesity study has taken on the issue from a different front; however it was never a public issue (Pool, 2001, p. 7). That was the case until July 2003, when the United States Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, presented a report to the House of Representatives deeming obesity as a health crisis in our nation (Ingram, 2005, p. 13). The report became media frenzy, putting the obesity epidemic into the minds of America through their televisions and newspapers. This signified a tipping point in social awareness. Since then there has been numerous studies and reports looking into the issues surrounding obesity, and there have been numerous educational initiatives that have been implemented to attempt to slow the spread. Unfortunately they have not addressed the causes. Figure 1: Percentage of Adults Who Report Being Obese, by State
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005)

The Causes of Obesity

As one might guess, there is no one catch-all cause for obesity. It is an epidemic whose contagion is being fueled by a number of different sources. There are a number of possible causes, five of which may be considered widely accepted: “…1) expanding labor market opportunities for women, 2) increased consumption of food away from home, 3) rising costs of healthy foods relative to unhealthy foods, 4) growing