Letters: Obesity: Taxing bad stuff does work

Monday September 16, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear editor,

Dr Robyn Toomath, specialist in non-communicable diseases and obesity, has written several books on obesity.


She had been on numerous advisory groups to the New Zealand government over many years but quit because, year after year, government just wouldn't listen to the recommendations. 

Instead, they advocated for education and exercise. Both put the sole responsibility on the individual and do not take into account the power of multinational food companies, their food scientists and the marketing companies to promote them.

Education, exercise and diets have very little impact!

What is required is government to take the lead, stop advertising, discounting, promotion and use of sponsorship of junk foods – a good example is the 'Coke Youth Pacific Games'.

Tax the bad stuff (yes, this does work) and make the good stuff more accessible and affordable.

Education has no impact, when we are living in an “obesogenic environment” surrounded by tasty, cheap unhealthy foods.

Making good choices is a nice idea but most of us don’t, so need to be nudged towards healthier ones.

Governments and taxpayers can’t afford the health cost of this tsunami.

Doug Hesp

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