Saturday, March 25, 2006

More Taxes Will Solve Everything Dept.

Now entering the ring, a new contender; childhood obesity. Let the fight begin.

Tax junk food to fight obesity: CMA head

Canadian Medical Association President Dr. Ruth L. Collins-Nakai spoke at a luncheon meeting at the Chateau Laurier.

Dennis Bueckert, The Canadian Press
Published: Wednesday, March 22, 2006

OTTAWA -- Junk food should be taxed to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity, says Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai, president of the Canadian Medical Association.

Collins-Nakai, a cardiologist who works with young people, says Canada has the second-highest rate of pre-school obesity in the world, after China.

"Healthy choices should be cheaper and more readily available,'' she said after a speech Wednesday to the Canadian Club.

"The corollary is that you make unhealthy choices less available and one way to do that is to tax them. Certainly it works for cigarettes.''

Her comments go beyond a resolution passed at the CMA's last general meeting, which called on governments to ban junk food sales at all schools in Canada.

Bill Jeffery of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest said many health organizations have already called for a fat tax, including the World Health Organization.

"She's in good company,'' he said.

Collins-Nakai said children's health is being forgotten at a time of increasing baby-boomer demands on the health system.

Canada now ranks in the bottom third of OECD countries for child mortality, while as recently as the 1980s it ranked in the top third, she said.

"This decline is a national disgrace. We simply must do more for child health."

Collins-Nakai also used her Canadian Club appearance to comment on the controversy over public versus private health care.

She said the CMA has drawn up a list of principles that should be applied to both sectors. The principles include timely access, equity, choice, comprehensiveness, quality and efficiency, but there's no reference to the Canada Health Act.

The CMA supports the Conservative government's promise to establish "care guarantees" which would allow patients to visit another jurisdiction if they cannot get timely care at home.

Collins-Nakai said she was disappointed that Alberta did not include care guarantees in its so-called third way health reform proposals.

She said the Alberta strategy could pit public-health care providers against private providers.

She also asked who will regulate Quebec's health system, following its recent reforms, to ensure quality care in the private sector.
© The Canadian Press

The argument is based on the premise that obese kids are that way due to junk food. I want to question the premise. As I understand it, fat is stored when you consume carbohydrates in excess of what you can metabolize. You store the extra to be used it later, like when you're laying on the couch watching TV, say. The carbs are contained in sugars but they're also found in as pasta, bread and fries. This would be a weird tax. Italian restaurants beware.

Dr. Ruth is proposing a Kyoto Accord for the body, and like Kyoto her idea will be more effective as a wealth transferring mechanism than anything else. Tax something and use the money to 'fight' it, or just tax it into the floor boards; it's the Canadian way.

Forget trading in carbon emmisions; thin people should be able to sell Carbo credits to the lard butts.

The goal here is to convert concern to dollars. What form this 'fight' takes is a given; advertising, lots and lots of advertising. But who knows, maybe we're going to have government representatives going around actually taking candy from babies. I understand it's one of the easiest things to do and most of us are used to it.

She also wants to institute 'quality and efficiency', something no government is capable of. Her concern over who's going to regulate Quebec also gives me pause.

Hey, I have a wacky idea; let's all accept responsibility for the food we stick in our mouths and not allow a government agency to monitor it.

Italics Mine


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