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Do Food Taxes Lead to Health?

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Should junk foods be priced out of business by “use taxes” with the promise of better health? That’s what is being implemented in a number of countries and being considered in the U.S. But in reality, aren’t we just driving the cost of government and food higher by considering another tax on the individual, rather than helping to solve a difficult health situation?

 


photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

 

I like the way Alexandria Sifferlin examined this issue in her article, “Study: A 20% ‘Fat Tax’ Would Improve Public Health.” With rising conditions of obesity, maybe now is the time to reevaluate our options. But I think care should be taken when “another tax” is placed on the public – use taxes have not always been effective.

Ms. Sifferlin takes a balanced view of this subject. She quotes Corinna Hawkes, a food policy and public health specialist at the Centre for Food Policy at City University in London, who states: “There remains a long way to go for food policies to reach their full potential to encourage healthier eating…”

No doubt health concerns surrounding obesity and unhealthy eating need to be addressed. Many articles are suggesting that the efforts be broad-based, including penalties for buying junk foods and rewards for eating well. But if the efforts to help Americans eat for better health are to be successful, recognition of spirituality as a driving force in decision-making should be included. I found a helpful quote in “5 Spiritual Concepts Western Medicine Must Embrace,” where the author states, “Studies have shown that individuals who attend church regularly live as many as 7 years longer than those who do not attend church. Other spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, prayer, and contemplation have all been associated with a decrease in negative health events and an increase in well-being.”

In fact, I have found spirituality and prayer to be the driving force behind my improved eating habits. As Kristine Holmes in the article “A Spiritual Way of Eating” says, “The state of one’s mind has been proven to create conditions in the body.” Holmes concludes with, “Is it such a big step to realize that when our bodies and minds are functioning well and feeling good, that it will have a naturally positive effect…?”

In the Bible, Jesus advises, “take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink. …Is not the life more than meat…?” (Matt. 6:25) A “fat tax” seems to be emphasizing the wrong part of the health formula.

It’s interesting to note that some scientific research and biblical admonitions advise not to make food the focus in mind-body workings.

I have found a sense of spirituality creates a perspective that’s not easily thrown off balance during day-to-day stressful decision-making situations. In my professional work, I was involved in many situations that were beyond my personal control – such as during desegregation and forced busing. Yet I was able to maintain balanced personal and professional behavior. My external environmental conditions didn’t negatively affect my internal reactions and my eating habits and weight did not change as a result of these pressures.

Food may not be the culprit that needs addressing – food only has the power over us that we give it. We may find that an understanding of our spirituality can free us from an unnecessary emphasis on food, and give us a basis for self-control.

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About Don Ingwerson

Previously in the education sector as Superintendent of Schools, Don Ingwerson now serves as the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in Southern California and corrects misconceptions about Christian Science. Don is a frequent blogger about health and spirituality.
  • http://www.lunch.com/JSMaresca-Reviews-1-1.html Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

    Tax the triple-burger at a high rate.

  • Don Ingwerson

    Dr. Maresca, thanks for your comment.I take it you feel the triple burger is the big problem.