Many of us in Canada love our junk food. Too many of us, unfortunately. And, because of this lack of personal responsibility, it's time for the government to step in.
News this week from Mexico indicated that the country's lower house has approved a fiscal reform plan that includes taxes on sugary drinks, junk food and pet treats to boost government revenue.
Now, we're not sure how much of a problem we have in Canada with tubby pooches and kitties, but any tax on sugary drinks and or junk food should be seen as a positive move.
The legislation includes levies aimed at reducing obesity in Mexico, which rivals the United States for the title of world's fattest nation, with 71 per cent of the population overweight.
According to Forbes, Canada checked in at a hefty 61.1 per cent of its citizens with an unhealthy weight.
That's frightening. Our children continue to become more obese as well as physical education falls farther off the map and school sports edge closer to oblivion.
We've said it before: Both the statistics and the science are clear. Obesity and its related health conditions - Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease - have increased exponentially.
Medical science has clearly linked this explosion to poor diet, including the junk food and sugary drinks.
Again, we need to find a way to wean Canadians off foods that are made up primarily of salt, grease and sugar. The results of a diet that lacks protein and proper nutrients is well-known. Over an extended period, various conditions and serious illnesses begin to emerge.
This isn't a case of requiring a nanny state, it is a full-blown epidemic. And apparently, education isn't enough. The health-care costs required to deal with the problems this obesity explosion in the future will be astronomical, and potentially unsustainable.
The Ontario Medical Association started to make waves on the issue last year, launching a campaign that suggested junk food be treated like tobacco.
Tax it heavily, keep it out of the hands of children and put health warnings on it.
In Mexico, officials want people to pay about eight cents more for every litre of sweetened drink.
The lawmakers even passed a tax on high-calorie junk food that was not in the reform plan.
It would include a five per cent sales tax on things like snacks, sweets, chocolate, peanut butter and ice cream.
The whining over such a tax would predictably come from industries associated with the junk food, and the notion that taxation does not change behaviour. Even if they are correct, we will still require a way to pay for the aforementioned health care costs for our junk-food junkies.
Health care costs are already spiralling out of control.
If we continue along the path of unhealthy eating, coupled with reduced exercise as children, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
The problem needs to be addressed, and it needs to be addressed now.
Children need to be educated, certainly, when it comes to proper nutrition. But when the choices are out of their hands, they also need to be protected and assisted.
If Canadians want to eat their junk food, that's their choice. But they should have to pay more for those choices.
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