'Fat Tax' on Food Is Twisted, but Try It at Home!

denmark fat taxEven though folks in Denmark have far less of an obesity problem than we do here in the good old U.S.A., the Danish government is still concerned for the health of its people as their life expectancy has fallen. So concerned they just instituted a fat tax on any foods that are "fatty" including burgers and chocolate. The tax is approximately $3 for every 2.2 pounds of fat, so a stick of butter is going to cost you 40 cents more in Denmark. That's pretty hefty!

As the first country to tax fatty foods, we can all sit back and see if this -- like the high tax on cigarettes in New York -- helps curb high fat eating in this Scandinavian country. In the meantime, maybe we could try this at home.

No, no, no, I don't mean pass a law in the United States taxing fatty food. Heck, if we can't get our meat regulated so it doesn't kill us via bacteria, you don't think those burgers are going to be taxed more heavily, do you? Instead, try it in your actual house. Here's what you can do.


Set up a "Fat Tax" jar. In the spirit of the "Swear Jar," make your family members put in a quarter every time they eat a cookie. Maybe up it to 50 cents for a cheeseburger and ice cream. At the end of the year, sit back and be shocked at how much money you have in the jar. Alternately, be shocked at how much healthier you are when you become aware of how much fat you're all eating. Either way you win. Take the money you saved and go on a road trip to a river for canoeing or a mountain for hiking. Or just bask in your new-found svelteness.

If nothing else, this fat tax will make everyone think twice before choosing the fatty dish instead of the lean one. Like us, the Danes apparently love their butter, so it's unlikely people will dramatically change their eating habits due to this tax. However, if you see that your favorite lunch at the deli (or whatever the Danish version of the bodega is called) is suddenly more expensive, you're going to know why. And it will make you stop for a minute before you shove that Gouda burger down your gullet. Right? (Side note: Mmmm, Gouda burger.)

So good job, Denmark. You're creating awareness and helping fund anti-obesity campaigns at the same time. Maybe someday, some way, we'll all be following in your footsteps.

Would you pay a fat tax? In your home, or to the government?


Image via JaseCurtis/Flickr

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