Guest Commentary: Fat and other taxes, lessons for the implementation of preventive policies.
Caraher M., Cowburn G.
Fat, sugar or sweetened beverage taxes are part of an overall public health nutrition approach to healthy eating. They are not approaches that on their own are likely to bring about change. Policy evidence from existing food tax implementation suggest that taxes need to be paralleled by subsidies and other interventions to encourage healthy eating. Such dual methods help not only contribute to nutrition outcomes but also ensure political support for food taxes. Politicians and policy makers are suspicious of taxes, using subsidies and revenue monies from taxes to support healthy eating is more likely to encourage both political and public support. Building support for policies is never just a matter of academic evidence. Public health advocates need to show more ambition by developing skills in implementing pricing policies to support healthy eating. Key opponents to taxes are the food industry who use a range of arguments to prevent taxation being implemented. Public health advocates are weak in tackling the issues of corporate power and providing evidence to maintain policy and political support. The public health movement needs to continue to develop the political will among politicians and the public for taxes on food. A new way of looking at policy formation is required and this includes addressing the power of corporate interests and the role of professionals in shaping or combating these influences.