SUG­ARY DRINK TAX MAY LEAVE A BIT­TER TASTE

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

CALLS are grow­ing for the Fed­eral Govern­ment to in­tro­duce a tax on sug­ary drinks, but opin­ion is di­vided over whether this is a sound pub­lic health mea­sure or just an­other ex­am­ple of the nanny state men­tal­ity. Ac­cord­ing to re­search, 63 per cent of adults and 27 per cent of chil­dren in Aus­tralia are over­weight or obese. This is go­ing to cre­ate a health ser­vices cri­sis in the fu­ture as med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als try to cope with the huge in­crease in heart dis­ease, stroke and di­a­betes. But sug­ary drinks are not solely to blame for the obe­sity epi­demic. And there is a case to be made that peo­ple should take some re­spon­si­bil­ity for their health and fit­ness. Some may also ques­tion whether we need higher costs to coun­ter­act the in­flu­ence of mass ad­ver­tis­ing. And should it be left to the govern­ment to shape peo­ple's eat­ing and drink­ing habits? Eng­land and other Euro­pean coun­tries have brought in the tax. Es­ti­mates sug­gest it will re­duce the in­take of sug­ary drinks by 12 per cent. In­ter­est­ingly, in Eng­land fruit juice is ex­empt from the tax but of­ten has as much sugar as soft drinks. Let us know your views. Rick Lee - Ed­i­tor

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