The 'fat tax': economic incentives to reduce obesity
- Andrew Leicester
- Frank Windmeijer
Published on 1 June 2004
This Briefing Note looks at the potential for the introduction of a 'fat tax' into the UK in an effort to reduce the growing prevalence of obesity in Britain. This Briefing Note looks at trends in UK obesity and examines evidence on eating habits and exercise in order to see whether trends here can account for what we see happening to obesity. We go on to review some of the key economic reasons behind why we might be concerned about obesity and why we might consider there to be a case for government intervention. We also discuss how food is currently taxed and the various ways in which a 'fat tax' might be introduced, looking at particular issues the government might need to address should it wish to introduce one. We finish by presenting some simple analysis of a hypothetical 'fat tax' in terms of how it might impact differently on the rich and the poor.