Scottish doctor urges "fat tax" on chocolate

Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:54am EDT
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By David Brough

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Scottish doctors came within a whisker of passing a motion calling for a "fat tax" on chocolate last week, and the doctor behind the move said chocolate was a root cause of increasing obesity.

"Certainly the U.S. and the UK are affected by rising levels of obesity," David Walker, a family doctor in Airdrie, western Scotland, who proposed the motion, said.

"If the British government is serious, they should tax chocolate in the same way as they tax alcohol," he said in a telephone interview.

Walker said on Wednesday that Britain had witnessed almost a doubling of cases of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, in the past 15 years.

In Scotland, nearly one in four people are obese, he added.

He said British people's fondness for chocolate must explain in part the growing obesity problem, because chocolate is high in calories, fat and sugar.

Chocolate was one of a number of factors, including growing affluence and more sedentary lifestyles, that had contributed to Britain's fatter society, Walker said.

The Scottish doctors' conference in Glasgow on March 12 defeated the motion to tax chocolate by just two votes.   Continued...

<p>Chocolate bars are pictured in the employees' supermarket at the Nestle headquarters in Vevey February 19, 2009. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse</p>