Raising Awareness, Not Taxes A new theory suggests that raising taxes on Junk food and soft drinks will lower the obesity rate among the general population. However, obesity is not Just a result of eating Junk food, and obese people are not the only ones who eat it. Focusing more attention on the way Junk food is marketed, increasing health education, and seeking to prevent diseases and lifestyles which cause obesity, will prove more effective than raising taxes. Those in favor of raising taxes suggest that it will keep people from becoming overweight by making it financially harder on them.
This theory is subjective and gambles on how others will perceive the change. Some people may buy less, but others may find alternative ways to afford it. As a smoker, I have noticed a drastic raise in the price of cigarettes over the last ten years. In order to be able to afford a pack of cigarettes, I would spend less elsewhere; eating out, movies, alcohol, clothes, and so on. Because the desire and addiction are constant and overbearing, I always find a way to support my smoking habit.
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Considering eating can be an addiction, the same concept applies. Raising taxes will not keep people from buying nun food, because there is always room to spend less elsewhere. Those who support raising taxes base this theory off of one main point – that Junk food causes obesity. This conclusion is invalid, due to the fact that it is not the only thing to cause obesity, and not only obese or unhealthy people eat Junk food. Many factors such as lifestyle, upbringing, and disease contribute to obesity and poor health.
When a person is raised eating Junk food, it is usually carried over into adulthood and then cycled through generations. Additionally, certain lifestyles such as partying, busy schedule, he cliche broke college student, and a picky eater can all result in poor health and bad eating habits. Some of the lifestyles, in addition to natural processes, cause diseases like Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, and Insulin Resistance; which in turn, cause obesity. Furthermore, not only obese or unhealthy people eat Junk food.
As a personal trainer, I encourage my clients to have a “cheat meal” once a week, as it gives their metabolism a boost and keeps their sanity. Not only is Junk food encouraged every once in a while, it is used as a reward after a hard workout. In my mime as a trainer, I have witnessed clients working harder at the gym to make up for the calories they had packed on the night prior. People who compete in bodybuilding competitions tend to eat a lot of Junk food in between shows as a reward, and to bulk up for the next show.
Taking this into consideration, it would be unfair to raise taxes for fit people as well. These advocates are so passionate in what they believe will be a simple change for a widespread epidemic, that they fail to think outside of the box. They argue that hitting everyone in their pockets will scare them into a sort of benison, and then healthy food will be the only alternative. What these people fail to realize, is that healthy and most of all, organic foods, are the most expensive on the market.
For many people today, fast food is a more affordable way to feed their families than buying fresh produce and deli meats. Parents with multiple children will also use snacks and fast food kids’ meals as rewards or calming mechanisms. With this in mind, parents should also be educated on what a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. As I mentioned before, Junk food can be the only way to keep a Emily fed; however, it doesn’t have to be to the extreme. Teaching parents how to prepare healthy, inexpensive meals would better equip them to feed their children.
Health Education should be emphasized and taught consistently throughout middle and high schools, giving children a better understanding about health and their bodies. Moreover, schools should provide healthy lunches and refrain from installing vending machines. Instilling a healthy lifestyle into the minds of children creates healthier adults. Some people maintain that it is America’s responsibility to keep its people healthy, and so raising taxes is the first step. Although they are correct in stating that we are responsible, the responsibility does not lie in numbers.
Taking responsibility does not mean that we make it hard to feed families or impede on healthy peoples’ choices; it means that we make changes in the education system, marketing system, and honor system. Having already explained the importance of health education, marketing is the next step. Fast food vendors should be the ones who are taxed and penalized for their marketing antics and false advertisement. Fast food commercials show Juicy, steaming burgers and perfectly cut fries being enjoyed y an overly excited consumer.
The use of bright colors, catchy Jingles, and attractive actors, are all marketing ploys to psychologically attract customers. Energy drinks idealize famous athletes, all while claiming to enhance your physical performance and stamina throughout the day. Consumers are generally so taken by the “smoke and mirrors”, that they ignore the warning labels and nutrition facts. In addition to marketing, there have been several companies caught using “mystery meat” and harmful chemicals in their food. Large franchises, such as ‘McDonald’s’, use such a rage amount of preservatives and chemicals, that the meat patties never mold.
It is offenses like this that should be criminality and punished, not the general public. It is not necessarily the consumer’s fault that they eat what they like it is the vendor’s fault for not selling quality products. If a child is obese, it is not the child who is scrutinized, it is the mother; the same should apply to Junk food producers. The theory that higher taxes will result in less consumers, is somewhat hypocritical. These supporters say that they care about the wellbeing of America and its people, et they fail to recognize the unemployment rate that will result in raising taxes on junk food.
The less people buy Junk food and fast food, the less of a need there is for workers; it is the simple concept of “Supply and Demand”. Of course, there will be somewhat of a decrease in Junk food consumption, but that means there will be an increase in unemployment. Some companies may go out of business, some companies may lay people off, and some companies may resort to fewer locations. Whatever the case, all of these people will be without a Job, have less pay, and will most likely only be able to afford fast food.
So, the very people trying to stop the consumption of Junk food, would be causing an increased demand in the end. In conclusion, the answer is not raising taxes on Junk food, but educating consumers on how to live a healthy lifestyle, and looking for ways to prevent obesity causing illnesses. Raising taxes will only make it harder for some parents to feed their children, increase the unemployment rate, anger those who practice self-control, and help the companies themselves get away with feeding low quality food to Americans. Them for taking what is readily available.