U.N. Officials Propose Taxes on Unhealthy Foods; Want to Improve Global Health

“Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco.”

That’s what Belgian professor Olivier de Schutter of the World Health Organization (WHO) told the organization’s annual summit. It’s also a pretty bold statement considering tobacco has been held as one of the highest risks to global health for years.

unhealthy food

He went on to say, “Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed.”

De Schutter also reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Today, the U.N. stated that officials will begin pushing to imposed taxes on food items that are deemed unhealthy.

It is hoped by officials that new rules and regulations on food could also help reduce salt, sugar, and saturated fat levels in specified foods. In addition, increased public education about nutrition and what healthy and unhealthy foods are may be pursued. Food advertisements would also come under stricter control.

If these proposed new rules sound a lot like the restrictions put on tobacco products, that’s entirely the point. Supporters of new rules for food feel the health risk of unhealthy diet is just as, if not worse, than the health risk of tobacco. The results of an unhealthy diet can be seen everywhere.

According to the CDC, in the United States alone, more than one-third of adults are obese, which increases their risk for weight-related health concerns. Obesity rates are also up worldwide.

In his report, de Schutter asked for an overhaul of the farm subsidies system in addition to stricter regulations with food, in order for better food to be available to more people.

“Governments have been focusing on increasing calories availability, but they have often been indifferent to what kind of calories are on offer, at what price, to whom they are made available, and how they are marketed.”

Though new rules and regulations aren’t going to appear overnight, these statements are some serious food for thought.

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