When we have to make a choice between two or more foods certain things may determine our decision: Which one do we think tastes better? Which one fits our diet? More times than not, the choice comes down to which items cost less — whether subconsciously or intentionally.
Low income consumers in particular are looking for the best priced products. They also tend to be the most susceptible to obesity. However, even the smallest of price differences can sway the consumer to purchase the product. What does this have to do with weight management and obesity? In two words: “Fat Tax.”
Fat Tax is a theory that adding additional charges on unhealthy food and drinks may help slow the rising rates of obesity. To test the validity of the tax’s effects, researchers conducted a study consisting of data spanning over six years and 1,700 nationwide supermarkets.
The focal point of the research was milk and its varying prices. At some stores there was no price differentiation of milk across all fat content; however, at some stores, the milk was priced higher based on contents of fat. Therefore, whole milk was the most expensive and skim milk was the cheapest.
How did the price range effect milk sales? The slightest difference of 14 cents showed substantial deviation from the higher fat options to the lower-fat options, particularly in lower income areas. Even though the results were significant, it still may not indicate how effective a Fat Tax would fare. More measured assurances about how the tax would perform are needed before it is implemented.
“The general perception is that these taxes need to be substantial, at least 20 percent and often as high as 50 percent, to have meaningful impact,” says Vishal Singh of New York University. “Here, we have compelling field-based evidence that such taxes don’t need to be high to be effective.”
He may have a point. The price shift of the items was minimal (as much as 10 percent), and yet the difference in what was sold considerable, and performed best in low income areas where obesity is at its highest risk.
What do you think about a Fat Tax? Do you think it’s something that should be implemented in America?
Source: Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation
In this day and age it seems no matter how noble the cause, it is soon taken overtaken by politics. And even if politics aren’t necessarily involved, someone usually finds a way to introduce politics into the situation, including our dietary guidelines.
A piece was put out from public health and sustainability experts from George Washington and Tufts Universities stating that sustainability considerations must be included when forming the new Dietary Guidelines for Americas (DGA). The request was met with scrutiny, particularly by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee and their Chairman, K. Michael Conaway, who believed that the recommendations commented on “wider policy issues” and exceed the group’s scope. The group denied the Conaway’s statement and also remarked that the previous DGA stated nothing about sustainability — something they felt should be included.
What do the experts mean when they say sustainability? The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ definition is:
Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.
So where does politics come into the issue of sustainability in the DGA?
• Industry leaders feel under attack and believe sustainability evaluations may lead to future regulation
• Sustainability has the potential to change the current food-groups guidance to one that focuses on specific foods in food groups
• New political coalitions may form that further tip the balance in favor of sustainability, particularly when drafting future dietary guidelines
• Sustainability considerations may sanction and elevate the importance of sustainable diets, opening the government up to greater demands for sustainability investments and telling consumers that such foods are preferred
These factors don’t necessarily scream politics. However, when you consider that they will impact members of the military, 8.6 million Women, Infants and Children program participants, and 31 million children served through the National School Lunch Program, the effects of these recommendations can become rather extensive.
What do you think about the recommendations? Are they justified or is it overreaching?
Source: George Washington University
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation
One of the worst things about being obese is how simple tasks become increasingly difficult. Such as driving a car like Jim Carpenter, or cleaning the house like Julie Roth. For nearly 500 pound television producer Bill DiNicola, it was the inability for his safety harness to fasten on a roller coaster he was attempting to ride at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. Things that we take for granted can be insurmountable for some. “You’re that person who can break furniture by sitting on it, by doing what it is designed to do,” says DiNicola.
Bill didn’t always have issues with his weight. He was a high school athlete, but when the activity decreased and the food intake rose, Bill added weight at an uncontrollable pace to the tune of 476 pounds. Bill knew that his
weight was an issue, but when he was unable to fit into a size 4X jersey, he knew he had to take action. The sobering moment came with a revelation. “There’s one thing you can do right now, and that’s change
and switch it,” he says. And that’s exactly what Bill did.
In January 2015, Bill went on the New Direction System as a part of the Bon Secours nutrition and weight loss program. Under the medical supervision of Dr. Phillip Snider and his staff, Bill lost 227 pounds. The hard work and dedication it took pales in comparison to the feeling of accomplishment and renewed vigor for life Bill has. That roller coaster harness that wouldn’t latch over 200 pounds ago now does so with no problem, and Bill is back to enjoying the thrills of riding the roller coaster with the thoughts of the shame he had before being a
distant memory. Take a further look into Bill’s story with the video below:
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