Israel mulls junk food tax to check expanding waistlines
Jerusalem: In a bid to control growing obesity rates in the country, the Israeli government is all set to authorise a plan which will levy a special tax on junk food, media report said Thursday.
The initiative for the governmental plan follows a survey conducted last year by the Gertner Institute, which deals with health policies. The poll showed one-third of the respondents supporting tax on soft drinks and snacks.
According to the Health Ministry, 37 percent of Israeli adults and 14 percent of Israeli youths are overweight; 15 percent of adults and seven percent of the youths are obese, Xinhua reported.
The ministry`s official estimate put government spending on tackling obesity at $1.45 billion.
"Other countries tax unhealthy foods, and the authority would like to examine the approach as a way of encouraging healthy eating," Eran Yaakov, deputy director general for finance and development at the tax authority told Ha`aretz daily.
Finland and Denmark already tax foods with high sugar levels, and Austria has implemented a similar tax on foods with saturated fat; France does the same with chocolate and candy.
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