Health : Paying for Fat

There has been a lot of talk about people who are overweight paying more for seats on airplanes and health insurance in an effort to cover expenses that can increase as a result of an individual being overweight or obese. The argument has been that those who cost more, should pay.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the medial care costs of obesity in the United States is about 147 billion, yes, billion with a ‘B’.

Rather than directly tax the overweight for being larger, Denmark has taken steps to prevent the increase in weight before it is a problem and to help reduce the weight of the country by implementing a “Fat Tax”.

The first steps toward fat prevention using legal and economic pressure in Denmark were taken in 2004, when the Danish government made it illegal for foods to contain more than 2% trans-fat. This was followed up in 2010 with a tax on all sugary junk food.

The new fat tax, implemented Friday, affects all foods, including milk, cheese and butter. This means customers will be paying about $3 more per kilogram of saturated fats in a product.

There has been talk in the US about increased fees for insurance based on weight, higher costs for flights and other measures that could help off-set increased costs based on health risks and weight. There has even been some action taken in this direction. For example in 2008 the state of Alabama increased insurance rates for over 37,000 state employees determined to be unfit.

What are your thoughts?

Is it better to try to prevent a population from becoming overweight as Denmark is doing, or to increase costs based on weight, or do simply nothing?

Should those who cost more pay more?


There are 70 comments

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  1. Anonymous

    Just what we need… the government sticking their noses in more of our business. The government has no business telling us what we can and cannot eat. And before some of you start throwing nasty comments back at me, no, I’m not obese. I just think people should be able to do what they want as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, and the government should stay OUT of it. That’s the problem with this country today… too much government.

    • blog

      Anonymous: In Canada health care is free, so here, if you eat McDonalds, we want you to get taxed on that shit! Because with the tax that I’m paying on my salary, 50% goes to the health care!!! When you are healthy, eat well, and go to the gym, and do sports, you definitely want people to pay more for their unhealthy food !!!!

  2. Al

    My thought is that the government of Denmark (and U.S. dietary recommendations for that matter) have it completely backwards. Yes, I agree that the people who cost more should pay more. However, saturated fat is NOT the problem. Processed carbs, vegetable oils, wheat products and the like are to blame for both several health problems, including but not limited to obesity.

    There are many who have examined the so called “evidence” against saturated and the history of that research and they have found these recommendation to reduce saturated fat and increase “healthy” whole grains have been ass backwards.

    Saturated fat protects the arteries against heart disease, cholesterol protects the brain against alzheimers, and have dozens of other health benefits. The true cause of heart disease and several other modern health issues is a combination of inflammation and insulin overload, both of which are caused heavily by wheat and sugar.

    The so called “healthy” vegetable oils are also a cause of inflammation due to how easily oxidized polyunsaturated fats are because of their double bond structure. This consumption of vegetable oil and very high carb consumption (200+ grams) leads to oxidized LDL.

    That’s right, it’s not just any LDL thats bad, it’s only when it becomes oxidized that it causes damage. Saturated fat creates large fluffy LDL particles that are very difficult to oxidize and are pretty much harmless.

    I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there.

  3. bigem196

    i think something should be done, but to force people to do anything is,in a way, to imprison them, thus taking away a supposed right we have as american citizens. it is hard to say what should be done, but hopefully most of us will take some responsibility for ourselves and set some kind of exercise and diet plan with the threat of more taxes and higher insurance rates lingering over our heads, if not, then i would support a “cost more pay more plan.

  4. Tommy

    Oh yes. Let’s bitch about fat people, yet our government shoves high fructose corn syrup down our gullets, saying it’s just as SAFE as sugar. Wonder why we have so many fat people around? Hmmmmmmmm? Well I wonder why?! Not like anyone gives a flying fuck, really. if you are fat, YOU DO PAY. But yet, if you get HIV, you can get SSI and disability for being a HEALTH risk in this state. Funny? I think not.

  5. Jhon

    its a tough question. Yes obesity is a huge problem (no pun intended) and something should be done about it. But ‘preventing’ it as Denmark is doing would more likely raise freedom issues and people protesting their right to consume what they want. And increasing cost will make people protest their right to be fat. But it is reasonable that those who cost more, should pay more. Not to sound like an ass, but if your fat, you can do something about it. Its really in the hands of people there, and as some would argue, not everyone is in control of their weight, but even so, they can still raise healthy kids… but thats just my opinion.

  6. Brian

    Yes Virginia, there should be a fat tax. We already have a sin tax for tobacco and alcohol, why not have a gluttony tax for those moo cows swallowing candy bars and 2-liter Cokes and developing diabetes and heart disease because they’ve turned to sugar, fat, salt and chocolate for comfort? Use the money to put all these blobs on the Biggest Loser and get healthy again. Or, here’s a novel idea, make PE mandatory for all 12 years of public school. The fat tax could build better gymnasiums and hire professional trainers as fitness coaches for K-12. It could put olympic size swimming pools in every high school. Just think of the community showers and locker rooms that need updating.

  7. M

    They’re a smart people! Smarter then the scum running the insane u.s. If the u.s. was serious about it’s health/insurance problems it would do something about the horrible excuse for what passes for food in the u.s. It’s a disgrace! High fructose corn syrup, fat, and salt are the main ingredients of american so-called-food.

  8. Ben

    I find it unfair because some people’s bodies handle fat differently, I’m 260 and look like I weigh 180, would that mean i get it cheaper and my uncle who weighs just as much but looks huge pays more.

  9. Ace

    That’s really interesting what Denmark did. I think the US should do something like that as well. Part of the problem, and why there are so many fat people is because it’s cheaper and easier to be fat than to be healthy. (Which, to me, doesn’t make any damn sense.) It’s like you can go to McDonalds and spend a dollar on a double cheeseburger or something, but to get healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables it costs much more money. If they lowered the price of healthy foods and things needed to be and stay healthy and raised the price of garbage foods like fast food a lot more people would be thin. But, they’d never do that because a lot of fast food places would go out of business.

  10. Fed UP

    DIETARY fats are totally different from BODY fat. Dietary fats, both saturated and unsaturated, are REQUIRED to keep not only all of your nerves healthy and insulated, but fat also provides the required outer layer for every cell in your body. That is where the fat that we eat goes to in our body, not to your love handles. Simple carbs like sugar, processed food, and not ingesting fats are actually what contribute to excess body fat. Also the fat you eat has almost nothing to do with your high cholesterol levels but that’s another story. As long as you eat good high quality fats your are good.

  11. Kev

    Alright for the sake of arguments, lets just raise the insurance rates on everyone, then reward for non smoking, fitness, healthy lifestyles. Why dont we go ahead and have microchips implanted so the insurance can keep track of every cookie that has been eaten.
    Better Yet… lets get the government involved, let them fix it like so many other things.

  12. Phil

    The US should absolutely do something like this. The only motivation that many citizens have to do anything is money, which is sad. Tax all fast foods, instant meals, candies, etc etc etc. Not much, but enough to make investing time into what you eat worth the money.

  13. LOL Fat People

    I think we should do both!

    We should prevent people from getting fatter by imposing taxes on fatty foods and controlling how much trans fats is allowed to be put into our food. We should also increase health insurance costs amongst other things for fat people too. They require more space, more food, and more medical attention. It is only fair that they pay extra for the excess amount of things they require.

  14. Richard

    Speaking as a fat US citizen, it is not the responsibility of the government to make sure that the people are “healthy” based on such things as caloric/fat/sugar intake. The only thing that the government has a responsibility to maintain is the safety of the food. Meaning that they contain no harmful chemicals and follow guidelines for growing and production.

    As for the insurance companies, airlines and the like… it is unethical to treat any citizen, regardless of weight, any differently that the other. There are some overweight people in this world that are legitimately overweight. Glandular problems and other health conditions can be the cause of obesity, not just food. In order for this to be justified, you would have to release all medical information to every type of company that charges a higher price to their “fluffy” consumers. This totally ignores privacy.

    These companies already make billions of dollars in profits each year. PROFIT! This was even before there were such increases in premiums/charges.

    The solution would be to offer 100% free health care to every individual, allowing them the ability to go to the doctors/specialists they need in order to overcome the conditions (whether medical or mental) which cause them to maintain there obesity.

    In addition to free health care, lower the cost of “healthy” foods. In a society where it is cheaper to eat unhealthy mixed with the majority of the people being lower-middle to lower class income, it is no surprise that obesity is strong and on the rise.

    I have not met one obese person that likes to be obese. If they had the tools at there disposal, within a reasonable cost range, they would most likely loose the excess weight.

    • blog

      Richard…come on! ” The tools at their disposal” Are you kidding me ?
      Are u fat? And trying to tell us (fit people) that you don’t have tools to lose weight? And that we should pay for your mental disorder and medical problems to help you lose weight?!?!?!?!

      Dude, if you decide to eat a burger combo at Mcdonalds (at 7$) because it’s faster to takeout and you are too lazy to cook a asian sauté with tons of veggies and chicken (approximately 4-5$ per portion), then it’s your fault if you are fat!
      Obese people are fat because they eat too much…that’s it !!! And they eat all the time, and they dont exercise… I have friends that are fat, and I see that they eat bad food and they eat bad food all the time. They eat chips when they watch TV, they eat candies at the theater, they drink coca cola when they wake up in the morning, they don’t go to the gym or exercice at home…. They are lazyyyy!

      I eat almond or carrots when I watch TV, I drink water and orange juice when I wake up in the morning, I go to the gym 5 times a week…and you know what? I work 6 days a week until 7pm. Probably more then my fat friends…and I find the time. I just wake up earlier…

      And don’t tell me you dont have 50$ to buy tuna cans, chicken breasts, brocoli, carrots, noodles, pepper, yogurt, orange juice, steak, eggs, bread…
      Eating at Mcdonalds every day is wayyyyyyyyy more expensive than all those good products that you EASILY find at the food market!


  15. john

    Great topic! Thanks for posting it.

    I feel that ideally we should prevent obesity, and while I applaud Denmark’s move to do so, I am pretty sure the same approach would be a disaster in the U.S.

    Denmark is not a corporate run, capatalist based economic model. If we try to make big business subsidize the problems associatd with obesity here at home we will have a domino effect upon our already struggling economy. I feel the current U.S. trend towards charging obese individuals for their specialized needs is a safer solution in our mixed economy model.

    In the U.S. we can better prevent obesity by enforcing laws which require corporations to divulge the nutrional/caloric value of their products and allowing consumers to decide if they want to pay hgher air fare and insurance premiums down the road in exchange for that big gulp soda.

  16. txtigerpup

    Why should people that make a point of eating right, staying in shape (whether at work or by working out) have to pay a tax on whole milk, or that steak that has just enough fat to be tasty? If a person is fat because of a medical issue, let’s get them to a doctor. If they’re fat because they can’t back off from the table, let them pay the penalty, don’t add it to my medical bill or insurance. Don’t add it to my airline ticket. Don’t penalize me by offering waist sizes up to 50+ but restrict the inseam to a 34 or less in jeans.

  17. A.m.

    our government has to stop subsidizing all processed and industrial farmed foods and begin subsidizing local and organic foods. This way, fast foods will reflect the cost it takes from the pockets of American people due to its ability to cause obesity.

  18. Shannon

    I don’t believe that all people should have to pay high taxes on fatty foods..I weigh only 125 when soaking wet, and I have to eat a lot of heavy foods to maintain my weight, so I shouldnt have to pay higher taxes..Only tax the ones that are abusing it, just like they did with cigarettes. This tax would be like charging everyone high taxes on air, because of smokers, not everyone smokes. So for those that maintain their healthy weight and dont abuse it, let them live, but those that are overweight charge them extra..I dont think that this is being prejudice, just fair..If everyone keeps paying higher taxes because of the bad and they dont specify, how are the obese people to know that they are doing wrong, if a skinny person gets the same tax jump

  19. Anti1

    To be frank, this is a tricky issue.

    I think taxing food is a little unfair, since there are people who are not overweight/fit that eat dairy and sweets. While this does promote finding healthy alternatives, I don’t feel forcing people that shouldn’t have to is fair.

    As far as insurance and airlines, I can understand why that would be feasible. Airlines have to compensate individuals by providing an extra seat and insurance companies have to insure individuals that are predisposed to conditions. Though, how they would judge who’s overweight would be tricky. Doctor evals, BMIs, WhTH, would be a good way to evaluate, but I’d recommend a case-by-case basis, instead of an across the board approach.

    While I do believe that something should be done against the overweight issue here, the ways of doing so are heavy-handed, slighting and/or discriminatory. However, while I don’t think there is a cost too great to be healthy, forcing people to do so isn’t right.

  20. SkinnyGuy

    There is no clear answer. We could ask the same question of people who live with HIV or AIDS. Or cancer. Or depression. Or anyone with a chronic condition in which there is a costly treatment or risk of complication. …I don’t think financial incentives/financial discrimination will change people’s behavior, nor will it solve any of the problems with healthcare costs in the US.

  21. Rolando

    I believe the U.S. should impose a “Fat Tax”. Let’s be honest, the majority of the American public are ignorant when it comes to taking care of themselves. Although the information is out there, Americans choose to not educate themselves when it comes to nutrition. If the citizens of this country were to implement healthy eating habits this would resolve our healthcare cost issues we currently have.

    I used to weigh 300 lbs and I lost 100 of them. Besides being ostracized by the Gay community, I just wasn’t happy with myself and I had many health issues. After losing the weight, I feel great. Working out and watching what you eat is a lifestyle. Meaning…you do it for the rest of your life. Not just for a few months. It’s an investment. Just like a car, you have to put in the proper fuel and maintain it. It’s sad how people take care of their cars better than they do their own bodies.

    Now, whether the tax will work is a whole other matter. I do believe overweight people should be charged extra if they’re taking up more seats on a plane and raise insurance rates. However, cigarettes are currently taxed heavily, yet people still smoke. On the flip-side…cigarette smoking has decreased, but I believe it’s attributed more to laws banning smoking indoors.

    In the end, investing in your health will pay dividends as you get older. I do believe in personal accountability, so if you’re charged or tax more for being FAT, then do something about it. Cynics will say “We’re all going to die anyway”. And to that I say “True. But what type of death do you want? A natural death or one hooked up to machines and in constant pain?”.

  22. A Reader

    This is absurd and idiotic. Contrary to decades of propaganda from the food police who claim that fat is the root of all our dietary ills, much of the research actually shows that the problem of fat has been grossly exaggerated and misrepresented, and the true culprits are actually sugar and refined carbohydrates. You don’t have to take my word for it, either.

    Although weight has never been a problem for me, I had long followed a low-fat diet. A year ago, I started including more fats in my diet (including products such as whole-milk yogurt, butter, and more cheese), and making an effort to avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates most of the time. Since then, I’ve been amazed at how much leaner my body is, and how much looser my clothes have become.

  23. Jeremy

    I call suuuuuuuuuuuuch bullshit on this. If we want people to eat healthier, we need to get rid of fast food restaurants, make healthy food more affordable and more accessible, and maybe charge less for a frickin’ gym membership.

    • blog

      Jeremy, everything should be free for you eh???
      Gym membership is like 30$ per month…that’s nothing dude! They have staff to pay…and it’s a business too…
      And by the way a brocoli is like 2$ and a box of 12 eggs is like 2$ as well…Tuna cans are 1$ each… You want cheaper than that? Wow!

  24. AL3XMOR3

    Its just rude how you used a wendys burger haha I am a manager @ wendys but I am glad they are doing this hope they do it in oklahoma

  25. greggo

    Sure! Let’s tax all fat people. Then we can tax all gay people, because they’re more likely to contract HIV. Then we can tax all black people because they get sickle cell anemia. Oh, let’s not forget to tax all disabled people. They certainly cost more. It’s a very slippery slope. Taxing the foods that can cause health problems is a sensible approach.

  26. brandondisaster

    Being someone who just lost 100lbs I will say that the government has no right to tell the people that they have to lose weight or be forced to pay a higher tax than their neighbor because of something they may or may not be able to control. This is a land of freedom and that’s why we live here. Okay so you have a problem with obesity and you’re going to try to make a broke economy pay for it. Well I have a problem with a local hospital in my town going bankrupt due to the fact that they cant turn away illegal immigrants, are you going to make them sign up or get out? I don’t think so, so how about you leave the people of your own country alone and start working towards something that is of actual economic importance.

  27. David

    You know, I can see why Denmark is taking the route they are with this, but in a way it’s a way of strong arming people into better health. It has good intentions, but should a government have the right to dictate what we eat ? By making food heavily taxed so that you can only afford the healthy food then you effectively force them into it. Why not take greater efforts to educate children and parents from the early childhood stages. If good habits are taught early on they will be far more likely to take hold. However I think that food companies should be required to release all the info about their food. So that we can make better informed decisions. as for wether or not cost more should pay more well to be honest i think in some cases if its neccesary then yes but there should be some guidelines and rules in this and it should be done without condescending behavior.

  28. Mrlovedick

    Why should responsible people have to pay for irresponsible people? And if we do have to pay, then I’d rather pay for them to get medical help through therapy or stomache stapling. Leave food alone! It’s one of the few basic pleasures in life. Don’t penalize the innocent to protect the guilty.

  29. Anti1

    David! How can you say that? I know of at least several medical reasons why people can be overweight. Insomnia, medications, non-smoking (smoking suppresses hunger), and endocrine disruptors to name a few. Genetics also play a roll in peoples’ weight.

    You can’t presume to know everyone’s situation and what they go through. For instance, hypothyroidism causes fatigue, weight gain, and depression. Depression shares those same symptoms as well as insomnia, oversleeping, and aches/pains. Both of those require levothyroxine and a anti-psychotic to treat, which increase weight gain. All of this, you would never know by looking at someone, but be very quick to say they’re fat and lazy.

    I do agree with people not cooking their own foods, though. While people complain that raw foods cost too much, they don’t realize that they could spend up to $15 (at least) a day on food ($105/weekly), when they could potentially spend $50 dollars a week on food, and some items will go into the next week.

    Ultimately, I do believe the taxes are a good idea, because people just aren’t getting it: eating unhealthy shit is not good for you. It’ll make them think twice about picking up things they don’t actually need–which is something that’s desperately lacking in the US. While this does snowball into other social issues, I pray we have the wisdom to deal with those things as they come.

    • blog

      Anti1: I agree that there is some exception, but most of fat people we see in the street are fat because they eat too much! ohhh poor ex-smokers who gain weight!!! Did we forced them to start smoking? Stop putting the blame of everybody and assume your own choices.

  30. bigem196

    Blog, go back and re-read again, it’s making someone do something as a penalty and one should have some kind of will power and control to do things that are best for them because they choose too.

  31. Richard

    @Blog – First, your comment is very indicative of one of the problems this country has. I don’t eat at McDonalds, I eat at home. I prepare my own meals. I have about $100 a month that I can use to buy groceries because of other medical conditions that are not related to my weight. A “bunch” of carrots here cost about $5 and a head of lettuce is about $3. Soy milk here is $12 a gallon (although they don’t sell it by the gallon). When you add up the cost to maintain the doctor recommended daily caloric intake with the foods that are considered diabetic approved (a lot of veggies are bad for diabetics because they turn to sugar) and then replacing a 5 pound bag of sugar @ $2 with a 9 oz bag of Splenda @ $7, you can begin to see that that measly $100 a month for food is no enough to sustain someone. And considering the majority of people that are obese fall into the “poor” or “nearly poor” category, the finances are what determine what you eat.

    But, back to McDonalds. When you can survive from McDonalds for about $60 a month by purchase 2 items a day from the Dollar Menu (which is high fat/sugar items), McDonalds becomes the choice for those on low incomes. How many times have you walked into a McDonalds and saw a meal sized salad on the Dollar Menu? NEVER.

    Tuna costs a $1.25 a can here, that is about 2 sandwiches. Add the cost of low fat low sugar mayo (or spread of your choice) and the whole grain bread (which is higher that white) and we are just about over the cost of 2 sandwiches from McDonalds.

    Then you take into account that fresh fruits and veggies wilt very quickly. If they are not finished with a very few days, they can actually become dangerous. And for those that are on low incomes, if they can’t afford enough for food, do you really think they can afford over $3 a gallon for gas to run to and from the grocery store every 3 or 4 days to buy fresh fruits and veggies that are approved by the doctors? NO. All of the sudden, that pack of bacon for $2, bag of flour for $2, can of milk for $.60 and loaf of white bread for $.90 is looking good because for about $6, there will be at least 3 meals (gravy over bread with bacon).

    You obviously have never had to suffer for long with low finances. When someone has the money to take care of themselves, they do. When low finances dictate what you eat, you make sure what you get will keep you alive for the moment. You can’t afford to think about what will happen 20 years from now with your body because you are trying to survive one day at a time.

    You need to try to pay all of your bills every month, plus by groceries… all on about $10,000 per year. Then, come back and tell me you could still afford to eat the way you do in the same amounts that you do.

    Also, move away from the city, because not everyone lives within a public transit area!

    • blog

      Richard: Dude, are you really serious? Wow I cant believe what I’m reading !
      You made the choice to live in the middle of the forest, you make the choice everyday to eat Mcdonalds…that’s your problem!
      And if you don’t make enough money work harder…of course if you stay at home and wait for money to fall from the sky, you will wait for a while.
      Why don’t you work at McDonalds full time, you would make more than 10K per year !

  32. Hypocrites

    Why not tax those extreme fitness idiots who go hiking up in the mountains and get themselves stuck in an avalanche, costing taxpayers millions in rescue efforts.

    Next let’s figure out how to tax sex outside of a monogamous relationship, since those people put themselves and everyone they come into contact with at risk of disease.

  33. Brian

    Ever bang a guy with a big fat butt? It’s fun, but you have to roll him around in flour to find the wet spot first. You don’t even need a long dick because you can just hump his ass crack.

  34. Verstoplq4u

    If the FDA were able to make sure that simple things like peanut butter , Spinach, and various cuts of meat were safe for consumers then they can tax it, till then stop taxing an unsafe product and recall it, oh wait they tax cigs and alcohol with no recall. We as Americans are over worked and underpaid and always looking for a quick meal. We all know how to eat “healthy” but when you can get a hamburger over a salad we chose 3 common things naturally “SALT FAT SUGAR” since we are hardwired to seek those things out.

  35. Verstoplq4u

    I was taught a long time ago you only eat a meal as big as your fist that is a proper portion size. how many things anywhere are served with that mentality? It’s called self accountability. I smoke a pack a day of cigs (down from 2), drink an alcoholic drink from time to time till I feel a little buzzed then stop and wait 2 hours before I drive anywhere, and eat a meal no bigger than my fist at each meal up to 4 times a day. I am 6’0″ 185 and only been to a gym 3 times in my life so why aren’t i fat since i eat anything and everything I want bad good or indifferent.

  36. Tony

    I used to be one of those fat people. At age 42 I was a 56 in waist and had a heart attack. Underwent suregry and found out I was diabetic also. At that point I started walking and exercising. My family was not supportive of my attempt to loose weight as they would continue to eat hamburgers and large amounts of fried foods. I watched what I ate and went thru a divorce and now I am a 36 inch waist and still loosing. People that are overweight just need support and someone that is with them to loose and exercise to keep the body toned and not flabby after loosing weight. I know we are paying more for health care for the overweight people, but you also need to realize we are paying higher insurance because of all the people that go to the emergency room for everything except going to their doctor and paying for the call. I am in the health care industry and can tell you most of those mis-using the health system are not paying their emergency room bills either. Therefore the public has to make up the difference.

  37. JP

    Seriously, what is with the “Yes, Virginia, it is this way” comments? Not all of Virginia is of one narrow conservative mind set.

    Also, the governmet doesn’t shove high fructose corn syrup down our throats. Sure, there are serious unfair and outdated corn subsidies that have allowed companies to more cheaply substitute corn-based ingredients and additives into processed foods, but the goverment never forced you to eat all these processed foods either.

    I believe the goverment should be more involved in limiting advertising of unhealthy foods, and not be afraid to challenge potential freedom of speech issues therein. The subtle branwashing of advertisers to americans is more directly harmful to americans’ ability to think clearly and make intelligent choices about what we eat, then attempting to tax particlar ingredients would be beneficial. In fact, singling out particlar types of nutrients as harmful or healthy has partly caused a great deal of the confusion (and psychological maipulation) that appears on food packaging and makes it more difficult for overworked people to make wise choices about what they eat.

    The government also needs to massively review the food subsidies it gives out and change the qualifications to encourage small farm and organic food growth, and begin to INHIBIT factory/huge commercial farming techniques. That would do a lot more to make healthy choices more available and attractive to consumers without specifically introducing more or possibly confusing regulations which could still be manipulated with loopholes or exceptions anyways.

  38. txtigerpup

    At one time, it was a state and national requirement that kids had some form of phys ed from grades 1-12. We need to get back to that. The school lunch program had its roots back in the depression era because so many American kids were not developing adequate muscle mass. Now school lunches are mostly contracted out rather than cooked in the school itself. Last time I heard anything about school lunches, they were a dietary nightmare.
    Revive the CCC and WPA. If we have sin taxes, let’s have taxes on fast food, hfcs laced foods, and a sedentary lifestyle. Give the kids a good reason to do PE, but don’t spare the rod if they refuse.

  39. Jason

    WOW!!!! People have it so wrong when it comes to diet! Eat processed dead food, be a dead slab of meat long before your time. Chemicals, GMOs, burgers that are made of chemically enhanced beef are not FOOD!

    Learn to cook, impress your friends, and stay away from the processed garbage!

    If you eat raw natural organic foods in abundance or as our grandparents called it food you will live a long happy lean life.

    Add in some exercise and a good glass of wine from time to time, and life is golden 🙂 Not only will you be lean and looking great, mentally you should be on top of the world.

  40. william Austin

    The French People eat a very rich fatty diet , but they are not fat, because they serve & eat very small portions!

    I blame Food Providers for advertising giant Food Pictures of Colorful Attractive Fat Rich Foods that doen’t look anything like the picture & have almost no nutrition and carry : Toxic Levels of salt!

    Bottom line you get a huge load of Fat, Sugar & Salt but no nutrition for an Outrageous Price of almost $8 Meal Deal !
    And further more: what comes wrapped in the paper doesn’t look anything like the pictures in quality or size, often parts of it missing!

    Food sellers spend Billions of dollars in advertising to glamorize [cheap to make] no Nutrition food that never satisfies! No body needs a 32 Ounces of Coke! Or a $7 Buck Coffee…

    But like everything else in America: The Food Industry has bought off Congress and the food Manufactures have only one goal PROFIT!

  41. Puck

    A lot of states in this country have already implemented a “sin tax” on tobacco and alcohol, yet heart problems stemming from obesity are currently the number one killer in America. I agree with adding processed foods, and other non-healthy foods, including fast foods (i.e. McDonald’s, Wendy’s etc) to that taxation. The government says that by adding the sin tax to tobacco and alcohol will lower the number of people that use those products, I have not seen the proposed reduction in purchases; but I’d imagine that some people have quit smoking/drinking because of it. Maybe if un-helthy foods were added to it, then less people would “enjoy” those foods.

  42. J.D. Verte

    being over weight isn’t really that different then being a smoker…if you choose to do so then you should certainly pay higher insurance costs, just as smokers often do.Those over weight through hormonal problems only represent a small percentage of those people over weight. For the rest it is an addiction and they can choose to remain addicted or not…but frankly all this government involvement in forcing people to eat right???nahhh that’s just not right.

  43. Richard

    But, to continue Dave… Paying for other’s medical/mental problems is the concept of insurance. Everyone’s premiums are used to pay for the cost of the people that actually need it, in addition to offering you peace of mind should you need it.

    An obese person generally doesn’t have a lot of really expensive medical bills. They just end up with pesky problems like diabetes that can be controlled with limiting medication. So, if an obese person who averages approximately 4 doctor visits a month for basic follow-ups is paying more money for the insurance, then the obese people are actually paying more for those that have the true problems.

    Heart attacks are common in both the physically fit and the obese. Just because you are in shape does not mean you won’t have one. But with the idea of increased premiums for the obese, it is the obese that will be paying for your heart attack down the road.

    Obesity is a problem, I will agree. But increasing premiums or raising taxes for unhealthy food is not the answer. It is very simple… make the foods that are healthy cheaper than the foods are unhealthy. I personally prefer veggies over anything. That is how I lost my first 200 pounds.

    So, we can all sit here and bicker about what would be the right thing and wrong thing to do, or we can actually do something.

    If you are active and physically fit… grab an obese person and motivate them. Assist them in losing the weight. Become a gym buddy. That is, if you are not so superficial that you might not catch the eye of the hot guy at the gym because you are with a fat guy helping him loose weight.

  44. MrJ.

    Ok my problem with this is that we have a free will as humans. We basically have the inalienable right as human beings to sit at home playing video games soda in one hand and full spread of disgusting fatty foods on the coffee table in front of us. I’m not, by any stretch of the word, fat, but I can’t imagine charging more for the foods that people can afford right now. The “Healthy Organic food” is twice the price and half the size, you have to buy twice as much to get the same amount of food. I just recently discovered a cereal that I very much enjoy, it’s $4 a box and is literally half the size of a regular box of Froot Loops. I think charging more insurance for unhealthy people makes more sense. They have to spend more time at the doctor’s office, and on medications. The last increase I got on my insurance, which caused me to drop mine, was from $160 to $220 a month. I never used my insurance because I barely get sick/injured and I don’t believe that I should have to pay as much in insurance as someone who has visit a doctor 2 to 3 times a month and is on a host of different medications to control blood pressure and high cholesterol associated with Obesity. People have the right to be lazy but they should have to pay extra on the medical front.

  45. Paul

    Obesity is a recent epidemic. Reading some of these posts where ‘people are not to blame for their glandular problems’ is the root of the problem. We weren’t having this discussion 50 years ago. Yes there were fat people back then but they were accommodated because they were the exception, not the norm. Even obese people back then had to get up to change the channel on their televsion. Obese people in those days probably took more activity than the average American does today. The only healthcare crisis in America is Americans have absolved themselves of personal responsibility.

    Most everyone is predisposed to something so get over it. If you’re predisposed to being fat accept your lot in life and take some exercise. If your predisposed to being ‘bi-polar’ get up and go to work anyway. You just might realize that not working is what makes you depressed.

    If you’re not going to take responsibility for your health, then yes you should pre-pay your health care costs through taxes just like alcohol and tobacco users. And yes, if you’re on a plane you should pay for that one seat buffer between you and the poor soul that would have to sit right next to you otherwise.

  46. Christopher

    We’re comparing doughnuts (USA) to oranges (Denmark)? How funny! The “fat” folks out there ALWAYS seem to ‘have an excuse’.

    When I’m sitting on a plane, and paid for MY SEAT, and the jackass next to me is literally spilling over INTO MY PERSONAL SPACE due to their being too fucking fat to sit in their OWN seat is the reason the last time I flew WAS the last time I flew.


  47. Berke

    First off, we don’t have “rights” for what we can or cannot eat.The constitution and bill of rights make no mention of stuffing yourself as much and as often as you want. Americans throw that word around far too often anymore. Taxing high fat foods is rediculous. No food is unhealthy. It’s moderation that must be taught. You can eat a big fatty cheeseburger. Just not 3 of them, and not everyday. There is a lot of personal responsibility that must be taken in regards to your diet. The government interfering in that won’t do anything in the long run, just anger people.

  48. Darryl

    I’am having a hard time understanding this whole thing. Is this slippery slope something that we want to ride down? Many people are overweight for whatever reason, so is it right to tax them just for eating too much? Sure we can eat better, work out, and take better care of ourselves. So would taxing us force us to loose the weight? Don’t think so. I can loose a few pounds here and there, and i can relate to not being in the best of shape but i’am doing something about it on my own. We all come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Shouldn’t that be enough?

  49. Richard

    David: Yes, I chose to have a residence in a smaller town over being homeless in a bigger city. Again, I don’t eat at McDonald’s. I don’t eat at fast-food restaurant in general for over 3 years now. I prepare the meals I can afford. And considering that I have scoliosis I don’t work any longer. When I was working, I pulled over 12 hours a day in jobs that range from sedentary to extremely active (and I earned my work credits for my disability payments).

    I refuse, after that statement, to be dragged down into the gutter to which you all have fallen. We just fought and one a major battle against prejudice from the government. Well, guess what… There is a hell of a lot more prejudices within our own community. We don’t need the government to destroy us, we are doing it ourselves.

    You gripe about the insurance rates because you are having to help some people that truly need the help. But then you go spend $200+ per month on frivolous bullshit. Then you hit a rough patch and you seek out the same community help that you have been criticizing.

    Every one of you are superficial to the point that you can’t even have compassion enough to offer help to those that need them. You have no idea what it is like for some people because you can’t see past your own reflections in the mirror.

    I weighed almost 600 pounds less about 10 years ago. I lost over 200 of those pounds because someone took the time to make me feel that I was worth getting healthier. Negative criticism NEVER helps.

    My words, I know, are a waste on the likes of you because you have no heart or souls left. But, mark my words, one day the people that shout from the rooftops today will be the ones begging tomorrow.

    • blog

      Richard, ok ok ok….and you are asking for pity…
      I’m not gonna answer that!
      We all have our problems dear! You think I have a pink life ? It’s life…You need to take your responsabilities…that’s it!
      That was my last comment on that !

  50. Richard

    No D, I don’t want anyone’s pity. I don’t need anyone’s sympathy. Least of all from this place. But, you praise this… be aware that gay men are still the most expected to contract HIV compared to all others. There will definitely be new doors opened by this action. As said, they will start finding more and more reasons to increase if this one goes through.

    Peace & I am out of here.

  51. LJ

    So many Americans in general eat way too many fatty foods. The last thing we need is to allow the government the ability to create another tax revenue which would only hurt those Americans who already struggle to survive. Grossly obsese passengers are frequently charged for an extra seat on an airline. Too many Americans love to use the excuse that they are large due to glandular issues when in fact they cant seem to resist eating the Whole box of cookies just because they need a little snack… And yes Virginia, eating a whole box of Lil Debbies is NOT a snack..

  52. william Austin

    Where to start? If you stop drinking: The all taste no nutrition drinks, like Coke, Coffee, and smoke and use Catsup: All the above kills the natural great taste of nutritious foods that do not put on weight! Because they stun the taste buds and it takes a strong food taste to get through…The good news: Your taste buds will usually go back to normal response within a few weeks of natural foods and they begins to taste real again….

  53. Anti1

    Wow. Simply, wow. I will say, though, that Chris is an absolute trip. lol

    The reason I suggest taxing the “unhealthy” food is so it will steer people in the right direction. I wouldn’t recommend that you lower healthy foods because, I believe, they are already reasonable. You can steam a whole cabbage with carrots and turkey and it will run you ~$10. This will be enough for both lunch and dinner for 2 days for two people. But people will be more than willing to eat out at a restaurant $15-20 (+tip) or eat a supersized value meal for $7-8 in one sitting.

    I’m not going to act like I don’t eat fast food (Wendy’s is my fav, next maybe Five Guys) or that I don’t eat out (went to Famous Daves two weeks ago), but there are people who do this every day–which is not healthy. As Berke says, moderation is what needs to be taught. The only reason I suggest taxing unhealthy food is because people don’t get it. They don’t get that ordering triple cheeseburgers for lunch and dinner, and ordering their breakfast platter is healthy or as cost efficient as they think.

    I will gladly take a tax on eating at a Wendy’s or Fridays, if it will force me to buy turkey burgers and salad/carrot sticks instead. Because it will make me think twice on if I really want/need it.

    What seems to be the issue is that people are generally lazy. People don’t want to do what they have to do, but will complain about why they shouldn’t have to or how hard it is. People in the US have it too easy, regardless of messed up it got in recent years. We will say we don’t have time for anything, when we generally work 8 hour days, and have about 4-6 hours to ourselves every day. I’ve worked all shifts, and all hours–8, 10, 12, 16, 24–so hearing that proper weight loss can’t be accomplished is ridiculous. Sacrifice is what has to be done, which is what most people don’t want to hear and more often than not, will never do. And while that’s cool, they should be held accountable. So, yes, you should be taxed for airlines, because if you’re compromising someone else’s space for your comfort, you should pay on their behalf since you’re infringing on theirs. Yes, you should pay more for an insurance premium, because there are many people with insurance hikes who have never even been to the doctor beyond checkups, but they have to pay for someone else’s overweight induced medical issue. I’m all for helping others, but there’s definitely the age old saying that, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.

    Lastly, Rich, I’ve never met you to know what you’ve gone through your battle seems to be a personal one. While your situation was/is unfortunate, to call every here in-compassionate, vapid, and wasteful, especially with no real way of knowing anyone here beyond their opinions, is indecorous.

  54. Eb

    I swear everyone believes the solution to every problem is a new tax. Things I would like to see done include as someone mentioned, mandatory PE classes in grades K-12. Also include more education on healthy living and it wouldn’t kill everyone to have a mandatory food prep class. You may not save everyone but I’m sure it will curb a few others. A lot of my friends make fun of me because I’m always making my own foods from scratch and try to use the most pure ingredients I can find, but at the end of the day I still weigh only 180 at 5’10” which according to some people is fat lol but I feel healthy and I rarely have to go to the doctor. My cholesterol is always high no matter what I do if I don’t take pills. I choose to take my chances with nature. The bottom line is you have to figure out what works for you and your body. I’m blessed that I can eat pretty much whatever I want but I also walk across a campus everyday and up and down 6 flights of stairs at least 4 days a week. You have to make your activity match your food intake. Education is the key not more taxes.

  55. Richard

    Anti1: “Lastly, Rich, I’ve never met you to know what you’ve gone through your battle seems to be a personal one. While your situation was/is unfortunate, to call every here in-compassionate, vapid, and wasteful, especially with no real way of knowing anyone here beyond their opinions, is indecorous.”

    I agree that my statement about people here having lack of compassion may be a bit extreme. I will give you that. I, however, do not see you saying the same thing about the people that generalize all obese people “lazy” and “glutinous”.

    The fact is, obesity has MANY factors. There is the person’s diet, their predisposition through genetics, their financial situation, their health education level and many more.

    My statement of “lack of compassion” is no more ridiculous than assuming that all fat people are fat by choice. Or that exercise & diet is a cure all. Sorry, but it is not true. As I said, there are a lot more factors to consider.

    I see the tax as a way for the government to raise more money by singling out a group of individuals they feel are causing the majority of the economic problems. This tax will in no way help the people that they are singling out. It is more likely that it will cause more damage.

    My suggestion of making healthy, fresh foods cost less than the unhealthy foods makes more sense. I the true goal is to get America healthy again, quit making it more cost effective to eat unhealthily.

    I will explain why I feel that healthy food is, in general, more expensive. If you purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, there is a limited (small) time in which the food is still fit for consumption. If the food is not utilized within that time, is must be destroyed and repurchased.

    Consider the people that are on fixed incomes (or lower incomes) that can only purchase very little to begin with. Most of the time having to purchase all at one time in order to guarantee that all of the food they need for the month is available. Having to replace expired fresh foods becomes a very expensive expenditure.

    This is when foods that are frozen, preserved and the like become more cost effective.

    Even if the food prices for fresh foods were lowered, those that are not able (for some reason or another) to buy a little at a time will still suffer, but because of the lowered food prices they will at least be able to afford the cost of the transportation to visit the shops and replace any foods that have wasted.

    In addition to helping in that way, because of the lowered prices on the fresh food, it would leave a little more to seek out and join a gym (for those that swear by exercise). Again, a gym membership here is about $40 a month, but would be useless to those on low income if the money that they pay the gym takes from the ability to buy the foods they need to follow through with getting healthy.

    I won’t even get started on genetic disposition. Mainly because I am not a geneticist.

    I will state, that I apologize for calling all of you superficial. It was said based on how your personalities came across in your posts. But, to say all fat people are lazy is just as erroneous.

  56. user100

    i dont feel as though denmark taxing fats is realy preventing obesity, as much as just saying “you want to be fat cough up the dough”. which probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for the states. dont take away the right to do as we please just do like everything else and tax it. im a smoker and if a pack of cigarettes can be taxed as a way to try to get me to quit smoking (which didnt work) then i feel the government should tax fast food and fatty foods. if you want to be unhealthy then you pay just as i do!

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