Low price high pri­or­ity in junk food fix

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

PRICE, not calo­rie la­belling, is what sways Queens­lan­ders’ choice of fast food.

Re­search that shows a fat tax on junk prod­ucts is likely to have an ef­fect on the state’s obe­sity cri­sis will be pre­sented to the Aus­tralasian So­ci­ety of Be­havioural and Health Medicine and APS Col­lege of Health Psy­chol­o­gists con­fer­ence this week.

Leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­duced in March for manda­tory nutri­tional menu la­belling. En­ergy con­tent of food and drinks is now dis­played in take­away chains that have at least 20 out­lets in the state or 50 na­tion­ally.

The new pa­per from the De­part­ment of Psy­chol­ogy at Bond Univer­sity delved into peo­ple’s mo­ti­va­tion for buy­ing en­ergy- dense foods and found that, re­gard­less of whether a la­bel out­lined the calo­rie load­ing or in­cluded the phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity needed to burn off the kilo­joules, it was sim­ply low prices that had the most ap­peal.

“Gov­ern­ments are likely to face the same is­sues with fat tax that they did with cig­a­rette tax,” re­searcher Brett Carter said. “It is cer­tainly not a pop­u­lar op­tion but these early find­ings show that, when it comes to psy­chol­ogy ... cheap prices are the big draw­card.”

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