A new bill has passed in Hungary in recent weeks known as the ‘hamburger tax’ passed on July 12th 2011 creating the world’s first “fat tax”. The bill will raise the price of fatty foods that are deemed as unhealthy or junk. Proceeds from the new law will be used to cover the rising costs of state-funded health care. The items will go up in price by 3.7 eurocents or roughly 5¢. “Salt, sugar and fats would involve higher tax.” says Gabor Csiba, the author of the bill who is president of the Strategic Alliance for Hungarian Hospitals. There will also be a 10% increase in the price of liquor and soft drinks. It is estimated that the law could generate as much as 111 million Euros or approximately $157.6 million.
These funds are sorely needed to help keep Hungary’s cash-strapped health care system afloat, one of Europe’s most indebted countries. Talk about an original initiative! Would North American go for that? It might be a small step toward solving the National deficit. Just kidding…I think there are 2 prongs to this topic: First the responsibility of the people to take care of their own health and well-being and secondly the responsibility of the “junk food industry”.
I think we can point fingers and blame everyone and anyone but ultimately it is us who choose to put unhealthy or healthy food in our mouths! We have to start taking responsibility for our own actions and stop putting our head in the sand. The rate of obesity is close to 26% and the rate of overweight people is close to 50% in North America. So what will it take for the population to engage in a healthier lifestyle? Don’t you think that if everyone were eating nutritious wholesome food the statistics would not be so high? Do you think that the cost of health care would diminish? You bet it would – most of the current chronic illnesses in our society are currently lifestyle disease! There is a lot that can be done when we know that 25% of what happens to us is genetic and 75% is lifestyle related. How you take care of yourself and treat your body will affect your future and the generations that follow. It starts with the right example. Poor eating habits will pass on to the net generation and so will good eating habits.