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Taxes on ‘non-essential’ foods won’t prevent obesity – but they will hurt poorer people

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The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) is a left-leaning think tank that has a track record of supporting state intervention in our lives. Moreover, the IPPR's new report, The Whole Society Approach: Making A Giant Leap On Childhood Health, has been bankrolled by three charities – Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation – that have also been keen supporters of the government micromanaging our lives and suppressing our 'bad habits.'

There’s a formula to such reports. First, overstate the problem. Second, exaggerate the benefits of solving the problem. Third, claim that the proposed solution is much more effective than it really is, while ignoring the potential downsides.

Despite the best efforts of the authors, it is hard to get away from the fact that childhood obesity has not become the 'time bomb' many claimed it would be in the past. In fact, childhood obesity levels have long since levelled off. Still, it is claimed that this is at “an alarmingly high level.”

The authors claim: “While fewer than two per cent of children had obesity in the mid-1980s… the most recent evidence shows that one in 10 children now have obesity by the time they begin primary school. For children entering secondary school, 22 per cent of boys and 18 per cent of girls have obesity.” This is entirely an artefact of the bizarre way that the UK measures childhood obesity.

Essentially, a child whose body mass........

© RT.com

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