Tax Policy and the Obesity Epidemic

By Efrat, Merav W.; Efrat, Rafael | Journal of Law and Health, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview

Tax Policy and the Obesity Epidemic


Efrat, Merav W., Efrat, Rafael, Journal of Law and Health


I.    INTRODUCTION
II.   THE GROWING PREVALENCE OF THE OBESITY
      PROBLEM IN THE UNITED STATES
III.  CAUSES OF OBESITY AMONG ADULTS AND
      CHILDREN
IV.   THE IMPACT AND COSTS OF OBESITY
V.    JUSTIFICATION FOR GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
VI.   THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF
      OBESITY TAX
VII.  PUBLIC PERCEPTION AND THE OBESITY TAX
VIII. TAX AS A TOOL IN ADDRESSING THE OBESITY
      EPIDEMIC

   A. Introduction
   B. Current Use of Tax Legislations to Reduce
      Consumption of Unhealthy Food
   C. Current Use of Tax Legislations to Increase
      Physical Activity

IX.   A REVIEW OF THE IMPACT OF TAX LEGISLATIONS
      ON HEALTHY EATING AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
X.    CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

Over the past forty years, the number of obese adults in the U.S. dramatically increased. (1) Similarly, obesity rates among children tripled over the past three decades. (2) The growing obesity problem in the U.S. has been attributed to an increased consumption of nutrient lacking food and beverages and a decline in physical activity. (3) Obesity has significant adverse lifelong health and social consequences. (4) Furthermore, obesity imposes dramatic economic costs, including increased direct health costs for the overweight individual, reduced earning potential, embedded costs borne by employers, increased transportation costs, and increased expenditures by government. (5) The externality of costs borne by society arising out of obesity prompted some to call for the assessment of taxes on unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyles to shift the true costs associated to the related behavior back to individuals. (6)

National polls suggest that Americans are generally reluctant to support tax assessment on unhealthy foods and beverages as a policy response to the obesity problem. (7) Recent public opinion polls, however, appear to have shifted noticeably with almost one quarter of the public identifying obesity as one of the top three health problems facing America today. (8) This shift in perception may have convinced more individuals to support the use of narrowly targeted tax assessments to address the issue. (9)

In an attempt to control the medical and social costs borne by society at large incidental to the obesity epidemic, federal and state governments adopted various tax policies aimed at encouraging individuals to engage in more physical exercise and eat healthier. (10) The goal of such tax legislation is to create a climate in which engaging in unhealthy behavior becomes "less desirable, less acceptable, and less accessible." (11) Some of the more commonly adopted government tax policies to address the obesity epidemic include increasing individual consumption of healthy foods through a tax subsidy, imposing taxes on unhealthy foods and beverages, and providing tax incentives for individuals to become more physically active. (12)

The goals of this Article are: (1) to present a comprehensive synthesis of legislative efforts throughout the country to address the obesity epidemic through the tax system; (2) to review the body of research on the efficacy of tax legislation to improve eating patterns and active lifestyle; and (3) to identify tax legislative strategies that may offer promising future pathways to address the obesity problem.

This Article begins with a brief summary of the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S. It then explores some of the central contributing factors to the mounting obesity problem among U.S. children and adults. It also examines the adverse impact and costs associated with the obesity problem. Next, this Article discusses the justification for government intervention, as well as the benefits and disadvantages of using the tax system as a way of shaping consumption and physical activity patterns. It then summarizes recent efforts by various levels of government in the U.S. to use the tax system to affect eating and physical activity levels. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tax Policy and the Obesity Epidemic
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.