As death-toll linked to COVID-19 nearing 50,000 and experts saying obese or overweight people are at higher risk of serious illness or death from the virus, the Mexican state of Oaxaca bans sale of junk food to children.
Oaxaca, a state with highest child obesity, became the first state in Mexico to take this measure.
The new law aims to fight child obesity and forbids the sale, distribution and promotion of sugary drinks and junk food to those under age. It will also apply to vending machines in schools.
This decision is being hailed by one and all, except the commerce chambers representing the soda companies and convenience stores.
In 2013, during the regime of Pena Nieto, Mexico implemented a tax levy of 8% on sweetened beverages and junk food, which led to a reduction of 5% in the consumption of sugary drinks. Despite the tax imposition, Mexicans consume more sugary drinks than any other nation in the world and according to a study, 73% of the Mexican population is over-weight. Mexico stands second in obesity after the US.
In the past, similar bans or tax regimes were implemented in other countries and cities across the world.
- Japan introduced Metabo tax in 2008, aimed to fine companies for having employees who are over a certain waist size. Later, the country achieved a 3.5% reduction in obesity.
- In 2011, Denmark was the first country to establish a fat tax but 15 months later, the law was abolished due to cross border eating and no change in eating habits, and the adverse effects it produced on the country’s economy.
- New York introduced a cap limit of 16 ounces on soda in 2013 but 3 years later the ban is dead.
- In 2013, Norway banned the sale of all junk food and drinks to children under 16. Also, Norway has a sugar tax in place since 1922. Currently, tax charge is around US $4.69 per kilo of chocolate.
- In India, Kerala and Bihar introduced a fat tax of 14.5% and 13.5%, on all western junk food, in 2016.
Australia’s fat tax never took off even after multiple considerations despite the fact that the country’s 2/3rd population is obese.