Top Doctor Says Subsidise Fruit & Veg With Unhealthy Food Tax

By Gary Cutlack on at

One of those so-called experts has weighed in again with some advice on how we're supposed to live our lives, calling for much more in the way of taxes on unhealthy foods -- and suggesting that these revenues could be used to subsidise better choices in one dream vision of a healthier UK by the year 2040.

That is the short summary of the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer [PDF], in which professor Dame Sally Davies bemoans the current health of the nation, the looming future dietary and obesity apocalypse and the lack of impactful action by the government, saying we're at a crossroads right now, or at least some sort of metaphorical T-junction. Turn left and we're a fat, unhealthy nation by 2040, with the sick off work and not contributing to the tax take. Turn right, though, and we might survive, although it's a harder route full of government intervention, more food producer regulations and higher taxes, to save us from ourselves and all the Jaffa Cakes.

Dame Davies is worried we're accelerating leftwards and potentially becoming a grim two-tier nation where the poor are abandoned to terrible diets and decreasing health, explaining: "... if certain current trends were to continue and even worsen, we could live in a society where the most deprived are cut adrift from that society. The gap in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy could worsen substantially, aggravated by a digital divide -- we must not let this unfair future be our reality."

She also warns lifestyles must change to slow the rise of preventable illnesses heaped upon ourselves, adding: "A step change is needed to slow the growth of preventable chronic disease by 2040, requiring our approach to be more radical, coordinated and intensive than in the past." [CMO via BBC]