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The Contender
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We should introduce a 'fat tax'

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 958 times Debate No: 74174
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)




First round accept
Second round intro and 1 or 2 points
Third round rebuttal and points
Fourth round conclusion and/or weaker points

Let the debate begin!


I accept.

I couldn't believe David Cameron when he once said that drastic action was needed to prevent health costs soaring and life expectancy falling by introducing a "fat tax".

Obesity is a major problem, so I look forward to reading why you think a fat tax is the best option for tackling this problem.

Good luck Pro
Debate Round No. 1


A fat tax is a tax or surcharge that is placed upon fattening food, beverages or on overweight individuals. (1) As an example of Pigovian taxation, a fat tax aims to discourage unhealthy diets and offset the economic costs of obesity.

(2) In the fight against obesity, suggestions to increase nutrition education, remove soft drinks from schools, change how companies can advertise, ban trans fats and subsidize healthy foods are all common. But there's one potential tool you may not have heard of, though it's been discussed for more than a decade. A June 2007 study suggests that a "fat tax" - placing a tax on fatty or unhealthy foods - might save thousands of lives and reduce health care costs.

Fat tax is working on ourociety, (3) having proof that people are choosing to eat healthier and are having wiser diet choices.



Argument 1: Impact on the Majority

There is a list of ways to tackle obesity, which you have kindly provided, but none are as drastic as adding a tax to fatty foods and on overweight people. 25% of British adults are obese, and a staggering 1/3 of American adults are obese. I understand that the financial cost of obesity is higher than both smoking and alcoholism, but drastic solutions are not always the answer to drastic problems.

The MAJORITY ARE NOT OBESE. Although introducing a fat tax could further increase health education for the MINORITY it would be largely useless, and unfair for the MAJORITY. Most people including myself eat chocolate, cake, and biscuits yet have a healthy lifestyle. It is not harmful to treat yourself now and then. Why should the majority be unfairly penalized? Here is the answer used to justify everything including the atom bomb = to save lives!

I'm for saving lives, but I'm not sure how exactly raising food expenditure saves lives when a lot of people have credit cards, pay monthly and will often buy things they can't afford.

FoodDrinkEurope; the EU trade group representing the European agri-food industry says "there is no conclusive evidence that taxing food and drink products for public health purposes is an effective way of changing consumer behaviour" [1] This leads me to believe everyone will just pay more taxes. Most people don't likes paying taxes, especially when they do nothing for them.

Argument 2: Impact on the Minority

Taxing food high in saturates may reduce consumption but will simply encourage customers to purchase cheaper brands with poorer quality ingredients. Many foods like cheese, butter, and milk will fall into the unhealthy label, when actually they can be good for you, and better than alternatives like margarine, so people trying to eat more healthily may find it harder financially to achieve their goal.

Also we shouldn't live in a nanny state where we are told what to eat, people should decide for their-selves, and not feel their budget is limited due to fat tax otherwise there will be a stigma towards people who are overweight.


Debate Round No. 2



(1) More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. Adults are obese. Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (47.8%) followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (32.6%), and non-Hispanic Asians (10.8%). (2) Non-Hispanic meaning not Latin American e.g the United States and its Hispanic neighbours.

Obesity is higher among middle age adults, 40-59 years old (39.5%) than among younger adults, age 20-39 (30.3%) or adults over 60 or above (35.4%) adults. Amazingly, (3) shows that no state or territory has <20% of obesity in the US population.

Australia is also horrendous, (4) in the fact that 63% of adults are obese, 25% of children are overweight or obese and that it is the 2nd highest contributor to burden of disease.

Overweight and obesity (high BMI) is the second highest contributor to burden of disease, after dietary risks. Smoking is the third highest. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. Was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. Dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Never the less, it proves that the USA, UK and Australia is some of the most obese countries in the world, thanks to Con's points.

(5) Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese. Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013. Obesity is preventable.

NHS and diseases

The tax was introduced in October 2011, (6) in an attempt to limit the population’s intake of fatty foods, and reduce obesity rates. According to the Danish National Health and Medicines Authority, 47% of Danes are overweight and 13% are obese (UK).

Any food with a saturated fat content of more than 2.3 per cent will be taxed at a rate of 16 kronor (£1.85) per kilogram of saturated fat. The move will add the equivalent of 25p to a pack of butter and 8p on a pack of crisps. This is statistically working on our society, changing peoples decisions on food.

Appallingly, with obesity numbers rising so fast — with it estimated that by 2050 the cost to the NHS (at current prices) could reach £9.7 billion a year — the wider cost to society might push £50 billion

(7) The National Health Service: in the UK, a system that provides free medical care and is paid for through taxes.

The NHS should certainly not be wasting money on obese patients, but with obesity, comes many diseases. (8)

  • High blood pressure- Above people who are 25, 75 million people that are obese suffer from High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes- 90% of people who have diabetes suffer from type 2 diabetes.
  • Heart disease- people who are under 45 have the greatest risk of getting heart diseases.
  • Cancer- if you are obese you have a 50% chance of getting cancer.
  • Depression- depression increases by 55% if you are obese.
  • Gallstones- If you are a women, gallstones can deeply effect you.

There are many more diseases, but I just named a few.

Impact on the Minority

Con stated at the bottom of paragraph five that 'most people don't likes paying taxes, especially when they do nothing for them'. In the fact that 63% of adults in Australia, 34.9% of US, 25% of UK and 39% of adults world wide are obese; don't you think we are in a way helping the wider people to live. Helping decrease cancer risks and other diseases, we are truly helping our society.

'Most people including myself eat chocolate, cake, and biscuits yet have a healthy lifestyle. It is not harmful to treat yourself now and then' states Con. I agree, but most people cannot control themselves and end up eating more than one/two pieces.

I do a lot of sport, so when I go to school with my friends we have ice-cream every lunch and share lollies. (Now I think about it) my friends are overweight. Unless you even up the food with fitness it is okay, but some people could have 1 large fries from MacDonald's, chips, lollies, gum and 2 pieces of chocolate cake. You can't burn that off unless you do 5 hours f intense training.

Burpees are hard- jump, push up, get up and repeat.(9) You have to do 524 burpees to burn off 1 large fries from Maccas.

Fatter foods

'Many foods like cheese, butter, and milk will fall into the unhealthy label, when actually they can be good for you, and better than alternatives like margarine, so people trying to eat more healthily may find it harder financially to achieve their goal'- Con.

Instead of full cream milk or fat milk, there is always the alternative of skim milk or low fat milk. Milk isn't unhealthy as it has many essential vitamins like calcium. Calcium helps your body develop stronger bones, hair, skin, nails and in general it is good for your body.

Margarine and butter are basically the same. Butter has more fat than margarine but margarine has more chemicals than butter. The two won't be 'fat' because for a sandwich or a piece of toast you only add a bit. Unless you go eating the whole tub, margarine and butter are healthy in small quantities.

Technically, financial matters will even out. If everyone ate healthily in the first place, we wouldn't have to get the 'fat tax.' Besides that, there would be less waist on money and resources for obese people. Such as the 'lager people ambulance'. Cheap food isn't good for you, you would end up getting not enough vitamins into your body. Then you'd have to use money on pills, treatment, doctors appointments etc. It all works out in the end.

Fat tax benefits

The fat tax will ensure the hospitals facilities and ambulances, it will make our society healthier, it will decrease the amount of deaths and will make the environment more of a healthy happy place.

Overall, the Fat Tax will certainly be of benefit to our economy. Decreasing deaths and diseases whilst increasing well-being and healthy life style, the Fat Tax is a brilliant invention; helping our society to be a healthier place.


Statics' websites:




'NHS and diseases' websites:

'Impact on the minority' websites:

'Fat Tax benefits' websites:


In a study published in 2015 by the US journal of Economics and Human Biology, obesity is found to have the largest impact on Austrailian adult men aged over 75, and women aged between 60-74. When you say that 63% of Austrailians are "obese", what you mean is 63% are "overweight". In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that 67.4% of Australian adults are overweight. To be overweight a person must have a BMI of more than 25. Only 18% actually fall into the "obese" category where people have a BMI of at least 30. [1].

Most people at least in the major countries are overweight, see below

However, being overweight can extend your life expectancy rather than shorten it. Having a body mass index (BMI) of between 30 and 35 (medically termed ‘obese’) causes more deaths, but having a BMI of 25 - 29 (grade 1 obesity) can slightly rise life expectancy as opposed to normal weight individuals, though it doesn't mean they will be happier.

The point I'm making is, weight problems affect the minority and not the majority, so introducing a fat tax will be unfair, and will have a greater impact on poorer people than richer people.

[3] The Danish were the first to introduce a fat tax and the first to abolish it! Black market activity and cross-border shopping were encouraged as a result of fat taxes. When people travel further for cheaper items, they will be likely to travel by car than walk there, and so will lose excercise. The fat tax also cost Danes around 1,300 Danish jobs! Job losses and the cost of living are important. There is no chance the Danes will want a fat tax again!

The only way to prevent obesity is to allow consumer choice, rather than confine it by increasing prices. Rising food prices will cause people to buy cheaper lower quality items which are less beneficial for their health, it won't encourage people to prepare their own healthier and cheaper food when they have no time.

Some people have tried to sue Mac-Donalds. I think a lot of obsese people want to blame someone else, when it is they who choose where and what they eat. If people ate at a table, made their own food, and looked at what they were eating rather than ate out or bought takeaways in front of the T.V. they would not over eat. Walking 2 mile a day should be sufficient for most people.

Not all fats are bad. Fat in the diet is not specifically related to greater fat in our bodies. Full fat milk is not any unhealthier than skilled milk, and so should not be mislabbed as being unhealthy, both types of milk will lower the likilihood of heart attacks and strokes. Some people prefer whole milk though, raising the price of this will not be beneficial, and may be harmful.

You assume that fat tax works, when it doesn't. It hasn't worked for the Danish, and it would inevitably lead to obese people being stigmatised which could raise suicide rates. The bottom line is it is another stealth tax.





Debate Round No. 3


"We need to look beyond blaming individuals and towards the structural things in our society. Are we okay with junk food being cheaper and easier to buy than good quality food?' says Dr Comans, from the Centre for Applied Health Economics.-

Some fats can be healthy and benefit your body such as the fats in nuts. They are a good source of protien and can include the omega-6 fat linoleic acid (LA), the short chain omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and the long chain omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) according to

I can conclude that our economy will survive whilst thrive if we introduce the 'fat tax' worldwide. Obesity is a major issue in the world and will only increase if we don't take action. We need to get progress on decreasing this issue imediately! Yes 2/3 of Australians are overwieght, however that is still very bad.

'Fat tax' is a brilliant idea, lets adress this now so we won't have to later!


Is junk food cheaper and easier to buy?

Here is an article I strongly recommend reading:

The cost?
A guy tried to make a homemade Mcdonalds, the ingredients cost him $1.83, while the McDonald"s double cheeseburger was $1.06. However the homemade burger had *leftovers* - most of a diced onion, almost all of a jar of pickles, six slices of cheese, and three hamburger buns which could be used to make a sandwich another day. He also used a slice of tomato instead of ketchup which was healthier but increased the cost (he can't stand ketchup).

Nutrition facts of a McDonalds burger

Serving Size: 5.8 oz
Calories: 440
Calories From Fat: 210
Total Fat: 23 grams
% Daily Value: 35%
Saturated Fat: 11 grams
% Daily Value: 54%
Trans Fat: 1.5 grams
% Daily Value: 80%
Cholesterol: 80 grams
% Daily Value: 26%

Nutrition facts of the homemade burger (using low quality 80/20 meat)

Serving Size: 3.2 oz
Calories: 243
Calories From Fat: 144
Total Fat: 16 grams
% Daily Value: 24%
Saturated Fat: 6 grams
% Daily Value: 30%
Trans Fat: 0 grams
% Daily Value: 0%
Cholesterol: 80 milligrams
% Daily Value: 26%

The homemade burger can be grilled to allow more fat to drip away, making it more healthy too, also higher quality meat can be purchased if you want to pay more.When all the costs are considered you might spend pennies more, but you have a much healthier and tastier burger.

The Time?
A lot of people buy fast food because they believe it to be quicker. So let's look at that.

It took him:

two minutes to shop for the supplies
two minutes to make the patties and get them on the grill
ten minutes for the patties to cook and to prepare the other stuff
one minute to reheat the leftover cheeseburgers later to build more sandwiches
one minute for cleanup (with a dishwasher)

That's a total of 16 minutes for the homemade cheeseburger.

How about the McDonald"s version? It took him 11 minutes = less time

But... if you go there again for another meal, that's 22 minutes for the McDonald's burger = more time

Conclusion - it might take less effort to buy fast food, but it will take up more of your time in the long run. Healthy food is already cheaper than junk food, so further increasing the cost of junk food is unnecessary.

I'm not sure why you have said that nuts have good fat because products with nuts might be mislabelled as unhealthy due to the fat content if a fat tax was introduced.

Obesity is a major problem and should be solved in a fair and responsible manner. The money wasted on studying fat tax could be used to help people.

2/3 overweight might sound alarming, but it's not really a problem unless they continue to put on weight, and this can be easily reversed without trying to control people. Ultimately we must choose to change our eating habits ourself.

If we introduce a fat tax, the stigma towards obese people will make it much harder for them to lose weight.
If we introduce a fat tax, most people, that is the poorest, will be hit the hardest.
If we introduce a fat tax, most people, that is people who eat responsibly will pay more, why?
If we introduce a fat tax, lazy people who eat fast food regularly will still pay a little extra, and believe it is cheaper because they prefer to.

Many thanks for having this debate, hope readers have found this debate interesting
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 2 years ago
It's usually better to be more precise, since the effects and implications of the two types are drastically different. :P I know a lot of arguments against the 'imposed on food' type and I'd be willing to debate you on it when I get more time.
Posted by 2ninjacat 2 years ago
any fat tax, actually. It is better that way ;)
Posted by 2ninjacat 2 years ago
Waistline, I didn't know there was one on fatty foods. Thanks though:)
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 2 years ago
There are two types of fat tax: On waistlines and on fatty foods. You need to specify which...
Posted by 2ninjacat 2 years ago
A 'fat tax'. Accept and I'll show you what it is and debate that we should have it. Round 1 is just accepting.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
A what?
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