TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Following a speech today by Jens
Klarskov, CEO of the Danish Chamber of Commerce, the OMA renewed its
call for increased taxes on junk foods and drinks, and for decreased
taxes on healthier items.
In the Fall of 2012, the OMA outlined several recommendations to combat
obesity which included putting health warnings on high calorie - low
nutrition foods, restricting advertising to children and reducing junk
foods in kids' sports and recreation facilities. Since that time the
OMA has been working with government, food and restaurant industry
representatives to try to find collaborative ways to improve healthier
The OMA recommended revisiting how foods are taxed because price
increases through taxation are proven to have a significant impact on
demand, and Ontario's Doctors believe this will help the obesity
epidemic. Some criticism of health-based taxing mechanisms, by the junk
food industry and taxpayers' groups, do not tell the whole story.
The failed Danish "fat tax" often cited as evidence that an obesity
prevention tax won't work, was focused on saturated fat content in
foods, not directly on obesity prevention. It was in fact successful at
reducing demand and purchase volumes of these products in Denmark,
confirming the OMA position that price plays a part. It was not
politically sustainable and lessons can be learned from Denmark's
There are many examples of more successful obesity-related taxes though,
that target sugar and calories. Denmark itself still has in place an
excise tax on pop, candy, ice cream and some other sugar-laden foods.
Finland, Hungary, Norway and France have all increased taxes on high
calorie junk foods. Like Ontario's Doctors, these policy makers were
concerned that junk food was cheaper than healthier alternatives. There
are many progressive tax policies that our governments can follow to
Every day Ontario's Doctors see the physical and mental health effects
of obesity on our patients. It would help our patients and the health
care system if the healthiest food was also the most affordable.
We hope to make healthier eating easier for all Ontarians - including
lower-income families. We want to level the price playing field for
healthier foods because it will pay significant health dividends.
Dr. Doug Weir
Ontario Medical Association
SOURCE: Ontario Medical Association
For further information:
OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862