In public health policy, you can’t get much more divisive or controversial than the topic of taxes on high calorie foods. It doesn’t help put out the fire when researchers say that the tax actually works.
Researchers used nearly 200 college students in an experiment to see how their food purchases would change, if at all, when there is a substantial tax on high-calorie foods.
“The most important finding of our study is that a tax of 25 percent or more on (high-calorie) foods makes nearly everyone buy fewer calories,” says lead researcher Janneke Giesen of Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
The only exception was people who were already calorie-conscious in the first place – their decisions were not swayed either way with the food tax.
I am sure you have heard the argument before that quitting smoking can help you save money. It is one reason used to argue for a tax on cigarettes. Recently, there have even been discussions of a tax on soda and possibly other unhealthy foods. Often our wallets are more important in motivating us than our own health.
Recently, I was able to visit Africa and help deliver supplies to orphanages that did not have electricity, beds, or even windows. They were enthusiastic, but a suitcase of children’s clothes just did not seem like enough. One orphanage told us that they are trying to raise money and just $2500 would build an entirely new building to house 30+ orphans. How could I not think about how much money I spend on frivolous things when there are children sleeping on concrete and not getting enough to eat? (more…)
The clever acronym PHIT stands for The Personal Health Investment Today Act of 2009. The PHIT Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last spring, and is intended to amend the IRS code to allow fitness-related tax deductions for up to $1,000 for individuals, or $2,000 for married couples filing jointly or heads of household.
But, only certain sports and fitness expenses qualify. The PHIT Act defines qualified activities as amounts paid for fitness center memberships, physical exercise programs, and exercise equipment.
Here are some of the expenses that are covered: (more…)