Brit Docs Want 'Fat Tax'

July 13/London/States News Service -- A group of British doctors is urging the U.K. government to impose a "fat tax" on junk food and include health warnings on food packaging to warn children about the dangers of poor nutrition, the Toronto Sun reports.

Dr. Terence Stephenson, president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, said that the consumption of unhealthy food is comparable to smoking or binge drinking.

"Thirty years ago, it would have been inconceivable to have imagined a ban on smoking in the workplace or in pubs, and yet that is what we have now," Stephenson said. " Are we willing to be just as courageous in respect of obesity? I would suggest that we should be."

Doctor groups are also urging government action to stop QSRs from opening near schools, to restrict the advertising of food that is high in fat, salt or sugar, and to limit sponsorship of sports event by QSRs.

"Some types of processed foods are harmful to the physical, and consequently mental, health of individuals," said professor Dinesh Bhugra, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. "There ought to be serious consideration given to banning advertising of certain foods and certain processed foods and to levying tax on fatty, unhealthy foods."

The doctors' urging for increased government control conflicts with the current Conservative government policy. Just last week, British Health secretary Andrew Lansley said, "No government campaign or program can force people to make healthy choices. We want to free business from the burden of regulation, but we don't want, in doing that, to sacrifice public health outcomes."  

From the July 14, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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