Additional Tax May Help People Eat Healthily

May 4, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. annual (adj.) 
[an-yoo-uhl]  – happening every year; yearly
Example: Christmas is an annual festival in many countries.

2. impose (v.)  [im-pohz] – to set or establish something as a requirement
Example: People must pay more tax on junk food after the government imposed the new rule. 

3. cholesterol (n.) [kuh-les-tuh-rohl, -rawl] – a whitish substance found in certain foods such as animal meat and eggs.
Example: She doesn’t like to eat cakes and ice cream because they have high cholesterol content.

4. receptive (adj.) [ri-sep-tiv] – agreeable or willing to listen to an idea
Example: The writer was receptive to the feedback about his book.

5. skeptical (adj.) [skep-ti-kuhl] – having doubt or uncertainty of something
Example: The student reviewed his notes because he was skeptical of his answers.

Read the text below.

Mike Rayner, the director of a health promotion research group in Oxford University, proposes adding a fat tax to unhealthy foods in the UK.

Rayner says that one out of four British adults is obese, and this is the reason why billions of pounds are spent on health services annually.

He proposes a 12 pence fat tax on sodas, arguing that the number of deaths every year may be reduced if people would choose to drink healthier beverages. The additional tax can then be used to increase funds for healthcare, Rayner adds.

He also cites how Denmark has imposed a fat tax on foods rich in saturated fat, such as butter and oil. These fatty foods are high in cholesterol and are likely cause health problems.

According to him, putting tax on all unhealthy foods, similar to how tax has been added to cigarettes and alcohol, would help address issues related to people’s wellbeing.

Rayner’s proposal has been presented to two members of the British parliament to see how receptive politicians would be to the idea.

Liberal Democrat minister Steve Webb said the idea is interesting, although it may not prove enough reason to raise taxes. He adds that the results of the fat tax in Denmark and other countries should be studied carefully to see if the tax really works.

Meanwhile, Angela Eagle, a labor party member, is skeptical about the tax. She says that educating people about the dangers of unhealthy food and controlling the content of salt in food seem more practical and important.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Is additional tax on unhealthy food an effective way to help people eat healthy? Why or why not?
·         Will the fat tax be useful in your country? What will be its disadvantages?

Discussion B

·         Is eating low fat foods the only way to have a healthy lifestyle? Why or why not?
What other ways can help people eat healthily?


May 4, 2012