My Case Against A Snack Tax to Battle Childhood Obesity
Should we allow the government to tax our food to create programs to battle childhood obesity, or should the parents take responsibility for their child's health?
The so-called “snack tax” is beginning to get a lot of attention. Buy unhealthy foods like potato chips, and you get to pay even more at the register.
I’ll admit, at first I thought it was a good idea. Eat healthy and you’re not penalized. It’s something we should all be doing anyway, right? But the more I thought about it, the more I was opposed to it. While I am a big proponent of healthy eating (and lifestyles in general), I also think that we should all be free to eat what we want.
We live in a country that glorifies food, and it’s no secret that our country is one of the fattest. Scientists are now predicting that our children will be the first generation to not live as long as their parents will. Obesity is clearly a major issue that faces our society—some may even call it an epidemic. Something has to be done to change our attitudes toward food, but penalizing people by taxing things like soda and chips is just another way for Big Brother to control us.
Supporters of the bill would probably argue that a large percentage (a proposed 40 percent or flat $10 million) of the money from the snack tax would go to fund programs to curb obesity in Maryland. But shouldn’t the fight against obesity start in the home?
As parents, I think we have a responsibility to teach our kids certain things, and healthy eating is learned at home. If we model good eating habits, then our kids will learn good eating habits.
And then there’s the good ole outdoors. What happened to kids getting outside and playing until the streetlights turn on? Video games and TV have taken over —the average American is watching four hours of TV each day. That doesn’t include time spent playing video games and surfing the web.
I agree, and I think we all can agree, that something needs to be done to battle obesity. But come on, a government tax that penalizes the purchase of the food items that cause the problem in the first place?
I find it hard to believe that we are a generation that is so uneducated that we can actually find true nutritional value in a bag of potato chips. I know that when I take my kids to eat McDonald’s, Chik-Fil-A, or any other fast food chain, that I’m not going to be giving them a nutritious meal. We eat there with the understanding that it’s a once-in-a-while meal.
Instead of allowing the government to take more of our money, we should be looking inward. Get your kids excited about eating good food by planting a vegetable garden, or if you’re limited for space, grow a tomato plant. Get them involved in picking out fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Model good eating habits. That’s right, we have to eat our veggies and at least to pretend to like them!
Childhood obesity is a real problem facing families and we need to fix it. But we don’t need the government to tax us more. Let’s get outside and play with our kids and enjoy getting well together.