- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A new report from the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that hiking prices on food could prove the nation’s solution to fighting off obesity.

“An increase in the price of a calorie regardless of its source would improve obesity outcomes,” said working paper authors Michael Grossman, Erdal Tekin and Roy Wada.

The study, reported by The Washington Post, says that hiking the price of a calorie by 10 percent could actually decrease body fat percentages in young people by 8-to-9 percent.

The report furthers the claims of those who say the increasing prices on fast food would help with obesity. Researchers compared information on fat taxes, sugar taxes, general food taxes and calorie taxes and conclude the last is best.

“A calorie tax would get you the biggest bang for the buck,” said Abigail Okrent, a researcher at the Department of Agriculture. “It’s the most direct way of taxing obesity.”

Researchers analyzed body fat measures and grocery store prices for 21 different food products — from Jimmy Dean sausage to white bread to Coke, and select menu offerings from McDonald’s, Pizza Hut or Pizza Inn, and Kentucky Fried Chicken or Church’s Chicken — to come to their conclusions.

Testers admitted, however, that implementing their findings — the calorie tax — was political impractical.


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