Can We Fight Obesity by Slapping a Heavy Tax on Soda?

August 10, 2009
by Jennifer LaRue Huget
Washington Post

The solution to America's ballooning obesity epidemic lies not in weight-loss counseling or programs to make people more physically active, Kelly Brownell has come to believe. To effect real change, he argues, we need to shift the economic balance between healthful and unhealthful foods, to curtail the all-pervasive marketing of junk food -- and to tax soda.

Research presented at the meeting estimated the 2008 cost of treating obesity-related ailments in the United States at $147 billion, highlighting what a weighty matter obesity has become for the nation.

And the problem is, er, widespread. In late June, the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a report showing that in 31 states, more than a quarter of adults are obese; in only one state, Colorado, are fewer than one in five adults obese, and in no state had the obesity rate decreased since last year.

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