Pacific Islands Need Junk Food Tax

July 14, 2015 International Tax Cooperation

NOUMEA – Taxes targeting junk food may help fight obesity in the Pacific Islands, a move which is needed to ensure that such health issues do not slow the economy.

Pacific nations should implement taxes on nutrient-poor but calorie-dense foods in order to help fight the growing obesity epidemics in the island nations, according to the director general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Colin Tukuitonga.

The director general’s words come shortly after the release of a new report by the World Health organization, showing that Pacific nations currently hold 8 spots in a ranking of the 10 nations with the highest rates of obesity in the world.

He added that diet related diseases and illnesses will have a significantly negative effect on the economies of Pacific nations, as such ailments will take people out of the workforce, and, in addition, “small fragile health systems in the region just won’t be able to cope”.

He conceded that a tax on junk food could have a positive effect on these countries, as it has already been shown that targeted taxes on products such as tobacco have a marked positive effect on encouraging consumption.

Photo By: Bruna Ferrara;