|Date: 16/05/2012 Time: 11:02:00 AM
A 20% "fat tax" on unhealthy food and drink could
help cut the number of people suffering from obesity and heart disease,
according to health experts here Wednesday.
Such a move should be combined with subsidies on healthy foods such as
fruit and vegetables, academics and researchers from the British Medical
The group released their findings ahead of the 65th World Health Assembly
in Geneva on May 21 to May 26, where prevention and control of
non-communicable diseases will be key issues for discussion.
Dr Oliver Mytton and colleagues at the University of Oxford said evidence
suggests taxing a wide range of unhealthy foods is likely to result in greater
health benefits than "narrow taxes" - although the strongest evidence related
to taxing sugary drinks.
They said one American study found a 35% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks in a
canteen led to a 26% decline in sales.
Studies extending VAT on unhealthy foods in the UK could cut up to 2,700
heart disease deaths a year, the researchers said.