Hungary Introduces Fat Tax to Fight Obesity

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September 3, 2011

With obesity rates rising to historic levels, the European nation of Hungary has taken preliminary steps to fight back. As of September 1, residents must now pay a €0.37 tax on foods high in fat, sugar or salt. There are also new tariffs on soda and alcohol. 

The so called "fat tax" was adopted as the nation's obesity rate hit 18.8%, an all-time high. The country expects to make around €70 million from the measures annually, which will be used to help offset the rising costs of healthcare in the country. Hungary has an obesity rate a full 3% higher than the European average. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said of the new laws, "Those who live unhealthily have to contribute more." The country is currently running a €370 million health care deficit. 

The measure is not the first of its kind in Europe. Denmark taxes soda and has charged more on candy for nearly 90 years. The country also introduced a ban on trans fats that was joined by Austria and Switzerland. 

What do you think of the "fat tax?" Should the United States pass similar legislation? 

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Comments

Sandy's picture

Does anyone really think this will help? It won't affect me, because I don't eat like that. I think it's just another sneaky, greedy government tax.

Tamar's picture

California and other states used this excuse to tax tobacco. They said the $ would go to offset health related expenses. It really went into thegemeral fund or them to waste on their pet projects and buy union votes. Now CA and most of the states are broke.

I hope we are smarter this time and just say no to any more tax schemes. These gov't's have enough $ and we need to command them to spend it wisely and judiciously.

Kay's picture

Interesting concept. i like this better than government deciding whether we can have McDonalds or not....

kelly's picture

I think it's a great idea, as long as they lower the price on whole foods or give subsidies to farmers that want to grow actual food and not just corn or soybeans. I wish they would tax meat too, that way we would have to pay for eating meat 3 times a day. McDonalds and Wendy's wouldn't like that, would they? But, I bet our obesity rates would start to go down.