Report suggests raising taxes on unhealthy foods - WKRN News 2

Report suggests raising taxes on unhealthy foods

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

A recent report from the United Nations hits close to home for states like Tennessee that consistently ranks at the top of the country's most overweight states.

In the report, the UN claims western governments are at fault for obesity rates by allowing some businesses to sell fattening foods at low costs.

It encourages a ban on trans fats and regulation of unhealthy foods including a tax on junk food.

It's controversial, and according to a local expert on obesity, not the right move.

Obesity Action Committee's Pam Davis told Nashville's News 2 while it sounds logical to make unhealthy foods more expensive, raising taxes would target poor people living in areas with few, if any, grocery stores.

"It's a population set up," she explained.  "Fast food and junk foods are only options available to purchase and if we put on those foods, the people who have the least options pay more for those options they have available."

A tax on products like soda and junk foods doesn't have enough support in Washington.

In fact, Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJarlais recently proposed a bill barring the use of federal dollars to criticize foods already approved by the FDA.

Instead of taxing some foods, a better alternative for the government, according to Davis, is to encourage healthy eating.

"Tennessee has the dubious honor of being fourth in the country in terms of obesity and we would really like to see us more down in the ranking as opposed to higher," she said.

To read the complete report, visit SRFood.org.

Click here for more information on a healthy lifestyle.

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