Is obesity tied to the price of food? Apparently so, and at almost equal proportions. Raising the price of foods for home consumption by 10 percent may lower the percentage of body fat in youth 8 or 9 percent, according to new research from the National Bureau of Economic Research in The Washington Post.
This topic is a bundle of kindling sure to ignite a heated and highly controversial conversation. We've seen it in action to some extent: the attack on unhealthy food items that populate store shelves and restaurant choices. But is this an effective means to an end?
This specific study found by increasing fast-food prices the average male saw a decrease in weight. Conversely, women were most impacted by increasing the cost of fruits and veggies, which correlated to an increase in their weight. Differing results, but both show related weight shifts because of changes in food choices based on price.
Abigail Okrent, an Agriculture Department researcher, and Julian Alston, a professor at the University of California at Davis, have looked at food tax options, namely a fat tax, a sugar tax, a calorie tax and a general food tax. "A calorie tax would get you the biggest bang for the buck; it’s the most direct way of taxing obesity," Okrent said.
To me, this is a ridiculous and erroneous assumption that obesity equals poor food choices, its simply not that easy to compartmentalize. Are we really this insensitive about obesity? Perhaps these researchers need a solid dose of type 2 diabetes, hyperinsulinemia, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or hypothyroidism so they can see just how difficult it is to lose weight even in the face of healthy food choices.