To Encourage Healthy Eating, Higher Taxes Should be Imposed on Soft Drinks and Junk Food

To-Encourage-Healthy-Eating-Higher-Taxes-Should-be-Imposed-on-Soft-Drinks-and-Junk-Food

CSS 2023 Solved Essay | To Encourage Healthy Eating, Higher Taxes Should be Imposed on Soft Drinks and Junk Food

Bilal Ahmed, a Sir Syed Kazim Ali student, has attempted the CSS 2023 essay “ To Encourage Healthy Eating, Higher Taxes Should be Imposed on Soft Drinks and Junk Food ” on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches his students. Sir Syed Kazim Ali has been Pakistan’s top English writing and CSS, PMS essay and precis coach with the highest success rate of his students. The essay is uploaded to help other competitive aspirants learn and practice essay writing techniques and patterns to qualify for the essay paper.

Outline

1- Introduction

  • ✓ The prevalence of unhealthy eating habits and their detrimental impact on public health have become pressing concerns in modern society.
  • ✓ As societies grapple with finding effective measures to encourage healthier choices and reduce the burden of diet-related illnesses, the proposition of imposing higher taxes on soft drinks and junk food has gained traction.
  • ✓ To combat this escalating health crisis, proponents of the higher tax approach argue that it could serve as an effective deterrent, nudging consumers towards more nutritious options.

2- Deciphering the term “Healthy Eating” 3- What are the consequences of poor dietary habits?

  • Health implications
  • ✓ Obesity and its associated risks
  • Evidence: According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), global obesity rates have tripled since the 1970s, with more than 1.9 billion adults being overweight, of which over 650 million are considered obese.
  • ✓ Nutritional deficiencies
  • Evidence: According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who regularly consumed junk food and soft drinks had significantly lower intakes of essential nutrients compared to those with healthier dietary patterns.
  • Mental and emotional implications
  • ✓ Impact on cognitive function and focus
  • Evidence: According to a report by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, individuals who reported higher consumption of junk food and soft drinks had an increased risk of developing mood disorders, including depression and anxiety.
  • ✓ Increased risk of mental health disorder
  • Evidence: According to a report by the British Journal of Psychiatry, individuals with a higher intake of sugary beverages and fast food were more likely to report symptoms of depression.
  • Social and economic implications
  • ✓ Healthcare burden and cost
  • Evidence: According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the annual economic cost of obesity-related healthcare in the United States alone reached a staggering $147 billion.
  • ✓ Lost production and reduced work performance
  • Evidence: According to a report by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, employees with poor dietary habits were 25 per cent more likely to experience difficulties maintaining attention and completing tasks efficiently.
  • Environmental implications
  • ✓ Food production and Green House Gases emissions
  • Evidence: For instance, the cultivation of ingredients like corn, soy, and sugarcane for junk food and the production of carbonated beverages require large amounts of land, water, and energy.
  • ✓ Waste generation and its consequences
  • Evidence: The packaging used for these products, such as single-use plastic containers, wrappers, and bottles, constitutes a substantial portion of the waste stream.

4- How could levying higher taxes on junk foods and soft drinks promote healthier dietary choices?

  • ✓ Reduction in the consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages
  • Evidence: According to a report published by the British Medical Journal, a 10 percent increase in the price of sugary drinks led to a 12 percent decrease in their consumption.
  • ✓ Reduced burden on the healthcare system due to lower obesity-related illnesses
  • Evidence: For instance, Mexico’s soda tax, introduced in 2014, led to a 7.6 percent decline in sugary drink purchases in just two years and generated funds for public health initiatives.
  • ✓ Providing incentives for producers of nutritious food and beverages
  • Evidence: According to a report by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, price reductions on fruits and vegetables led to increased consumption among low-income individuals.
  • ✓ Elevating promotional and endorsement initiatives led by state
  • Evidence: For instance, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “5-a-day” fruit and vegetable promotion significantly influenced individuals to adopt healthier eating habits.
  • ✓ Allocation of resources to health initiatives
  • Evidence: For instance, revenue from Mexico’s sugary drink tax has been used to fund drinking water fountains in schools.

5- Critical analysis

6- Conclusion 

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Essay

The prevalence of unhealthy eating habits and their detrimental impact on public health have become pressing concerns in modern society. Unhealthy eating habits, characterized by soft drinks and junk food consumption, have been identified as significant contributors to this escalating global health concern. However, as societies grapple with finding effective measures to encourage healthier choices and reduce the burden of diet-related illnesses, the proposition of imposing higher taxes on soft drinks and junk food has gained traction. The rise of modern convenience, aggressive marketing, and widespread availability have significantly contributed to the consumption of soft drinks and junk food, becoming an integral part of the contemporary diet. Unfortunately, these items are often rich in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and empty calories, leading to various health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. To combat this escalating health crisis, proponents of the higher tax approach argue that it could serve as an effective deterrent, nudging consumers towards more nutritious options. In addition, by making unhealthy choices relatively more expensive, individuals might be inclined to reconsider their preferences, ultimately fostering a shift towards a healthier diet. Moreover, the revenue generated from these taxes could be reinvested in public health initiatives, nutrition education programs, and initiatives to improve accessibility to fresh and wholesome food.

To begin with, it is pertinent to grasp the concept of healthy eating. Healthy eating refers to consuming a balanced and nutritious diet that provides essential nutrients to support overall well-being and prevent chronic diseases. It involves incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats while limiting processed foods, added sugars, and excessive salt. Portion control is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. Hydration is crucial, and water should be the primary beverage choice. Healthy eating promotes physical and mental health, boosts energy levels, improves digestion, and enhances the immune system. Hence, adopting a sustainable and balanced eating pattern is key to leading a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Unhealthy eating has far-reaching implications for society, economy, and environment, with numerous adverse implications. To begin with, health implications hold significant importance. One of the most apparent implications of consuming junk food and soft drinks is the development of obesity. Obesity occurs when the body accumulates excess fat, leading to numerous health problems. People who regularly consume junk food and soft drinks are at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese, as these products lack essential nutrients that promote satiety and metabolic health. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), global obesity rates have tripled since the 1970s, with more than 1.9 billion adults being overweight, of which over 650 million are considered obese. Hence, unhealthy dietary habits that prioritize junk food and soft drinks over nutritious options can have severe consequences for health.

Similarly, eating junk food and consuming soft drinks can lead to significant nutritional deficiencies due to their poor nutrient profiles. These products are typically high in empty calories, saturated fats, added sugars, and low-quality carbohydrates. They lack essential vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients that are crucial for maintaining optimal health. A diet heavily reliant on junk food and sugary drinks can result in deficiencies of vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin D, and Vitamin B, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who regularly consumed junk food and soft drinks had significantly lower intakes of essential nutrients compared to those with healthier dietary patterns. Thus, these deficiencies can weaken the immune system, hinder proper growth and development, and increase the risk of various chronic diseases.

Moreover, eating junk food and consuming soft drinks can have a significant impact on cognitive function. The excessive consumption of sugary and highly processed foods can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which can negatively affect the brain’s ability to function optimally. Over time, this can result in decreased attention span, reduced memory retention, and impaired cognitive processing. According to a report by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, individuals who reported higher consumption of junk food and soft drinks had an increased risk of developing mood disorders, including depression and anxiety. Hence, these mental issues can further impair cognitive function and focus as individuals experience difficulties processing information and maintaining attention.

In addition, the consumption of junk food and soft drinks has been linked to an increased risk of mental health disorders, posing significant mental and emotional implications for individuals. Junk food, often laden with unhealthy fats, sugars, and additives, can negatively impact the brain’s chemical balance, affecting mood-regulating neurotransmitters. Frequent consumption of such foods can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels, causing mood swings and increasing the risk of developing mental health issues. According to a report by the British Journal of Psychiatry, individuals with a higher intake of sugary beverages and fast food were more likely to report symptoms of depression. Hence, the lack of essential nutrients in junk food can deprive the brain of vital substances necessary for optimal cognitive function, exacerbating emotional distress and instability.

Other than the health implications, the consumption of junk food and soft drinks has emerged as a significant social and economic burden on the healthcare system. With the rising popularity of these unhealthy food options, there has been an alarming increase in obesity rates, diabetes, heart disease, and other related health issues. As more people turn to these convenient but nutritionally deficient choices, the healthcare system faces greater strain in managing and treating chronic illnesses. The resulting increase in healthcare demand puts pressure on medical facilities, leading to longer waiting times and reduced access to care for patients. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the annual economic cost of obesity-related healthcare in the United States alone reached a staggering $147 billion. Hence, the prevalence of obesity and diet-related diseases can exacerbate health disparities, disproportionately affecting socioeconomically disadvantaged communities with limited access to nutritious food options and healthcare resources.

Further, poor dietary choices have been linked to an increase in chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, which directly impact workforce productivity. Employees suffering from these health issues may experience more frequent absences and reduced efficiency at work. Moreover, the time spent on medical appointments and treatment further hampers overall productivity. According to a report by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, employees with poor dietary habits were 25 per cent more likely to experience difficulties maintaining attention and completing tasks efficiently. Thus, the burden of lost production not only affects individual workers but also has a ripple effect on businesses and the economy at large, as it lowers the nation’s overall output and economic growth potential.

Apart from the above-discussed implications, there are environmental implications of unhealthy eating too. Food production and its environmental implications have a profound impact on the planet, particularly when it comes to junk food and soft drinks. The production of these items involves resource-intensive processes that lead to significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For instance, the cultivation of ingredients like corn, soy, and sugarcane for junk food and the production of carbonated beverages require large amounts of land, water, and energy. Thus, these activities contribute to deforestation, habitat destruction, and increased carbon dioxide and methane emissions, exacerbating climate change and its associated environmental challenges.

Last but not least, the consumption of junk food and soft drinks has escalated in recent years, contributing significantly to the generation of waste and its adverse environmental consequences. The packaging used for these products, such as single-use plastic containers, wrappers, and bottles, constitutes a substantial portion of the waste stream. Unfortunately, these materials often end up in landfills or as litter in the natural environment. As they are not easily biodegradable, they persist in the environment for decades, releasing harmful chemicals and posing a threat to wildlife and ecosystems.

Recognizing the importance of shifting away from unhealthy eating habits, it is essential to explore how implementing higher taxes on junk foods and soft drinks can effectively discourage this detrimental trend. While outright banning such products may not be a realistic approach for any country, imposing substantial taxes serves as a viable strategy to promote healthier dietary choices. Higher taxes imposed on junk food and soft drinks can show promising results in reducing the consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages. These taxes, often referred to as “sin taxes,” aim to discourage the purchase and consumption of products that are high in calories, sugar, and fat, which are associated with various health issues like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. According to a report published by the British Medical Journal, a 10 percent increase in the price of sugary drinks led to a 12 percent decrease in their consumption. As the cost of unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks increases due to the added tax, consumers are incentivized to reconsider their dietary choices and opt for healthier alternatives instead.

Moreover, implementing higher taxes on junk food and soft drinks not only addresses the issue of obesity but also sends a powerful message about the importance of promoting healthier dietary habits. Governments can use the revenue generated from these taxes to invest in public health initiatives such as nutrition education programs, community wellness centers, and subsidized access to fresh produce. For instance, Mexico’s soda tax, introduced in 2014, led to a 7.6 percent decline in sugary drink purchases in just two years and generated funds for public health initiatives. By focusing on preventive measures, healthcare systems can foster a culture of health consciousness, emphasizing the long-term benefits of maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise. Hence, such proactive interventions can lead to a reduction in obesity-related illnesses, ultimately reducing the burden on hospitals and healthcare facilities.

In addition, promoting healthy eating is crucial for addressing the global rise in diet-related diseases. One of the effective strategies is to create incentives for producers of nutritious food while imposing higher taxes on soft drinks and junk food. By offering incentives to producers of nutritious options, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, governments can stimulate the supply of healthy choices, making them more accessible and affordable for consumers. Incentives like tax breaks or subsidies for producers can lower the cost of nutritious items, making them more accessible and affordable for consumers. According to a report by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, price reductions on fruits and vegetables led to increased consumption among low-income individuals.

Further, implementing promotional and endorsement initiatives driven by the state, coupled with higher taxes on junk foods and soft drinks, can play a pivotal role in encouraging healthier dietary choices among the populace. This multifaceted approach utilizes both behavioral nudges and economic incentives to shift consumer preferences towards more nutritious options. For instance, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “5-a-day” fruit and vegetable promotion significantly influenced individuals to adopt healthier eating habits. Hence, by leveraging the same strategies, governments can effectively disseminate information and influence dietary choices.

Last but not least, allocating resources to health initiatives through higher taxes on junk foods and soft drinks is a prudent strategy to promote healthier dietary choices. The consumption of these items has been linked to a range of health issues, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. By implementing higher taxes, governments can discourage the consumption of these unhealthy products and generate revenue that can be reinvested into public health programs. For instance, revenue from Mexico’s sugary drink tax has been used to fund drinking water fountains in schools. Hence, implementing higher taxes on junk foods and soft drinks can act as a deterrent to unhealthy consumption, while the revenue generated can be directed towards impactful health initiatives.

To articulate critically, imposing higher taxes on soft drinks and junk food as a means to promote healthy eating raises several concerns. While the intention may be to discourage consumption, such taxes disproportionately burden low-income individuals who rely on these affordable options. However, imposing higher taxes on soft drinks and junk food can be an effective approach to promoting healthy eating and combating the rising rates of obesity and chronic diseases. By making these unhealthy options more expensive, consumers may be discouraged from purchasing them as frequently, leading to a potential shift towards healthier alternatives. Moreover, higher taxes can create an economic incentive for the food industry to innovate and produce healthier options, contributing to a positive impact on the overall well-being of the population.

In a nutshell, implementing higher taxes on soft drinks and junk food is a prudent and effective measure to promote healthy eating and combat the escalating rates of diet-related illnesses. Such taxes can act as powerful incentives for consumers to opt for healthier alternatives, leading to a positive shift in dietary choices. By discouraging the consumption of sugary and unhealthy foods, these taxes can contribute to reducing the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions, ultimately easing the burden on the healthcare system. Moreover, the generated tax revenue can be reinvested in public health initiatives and education, fostering societies that prioritize well-being and embrace healthier lifestyle choices. 

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