Three cheers for the OMA and a FAT TAX!

For a long time I have been an advocate of healthier eating and exercise as a better way of life.  Not just for people who are overweight, but also for those who are struggling daily to maintain the weight they already have.

I haven’t been alone in my advocacy…far from it.  There are thousands of people who are just like me that spend countless hours trying to help others.  The problem is that all of us combined don’t have the money or the voice that a “food” product company with the weight of a multi-million dollar Madison Avenue advertising agency can put together.

Even governments are often against the voice of health advocacy at times by providing unbelievable benefits to “food” processors while leaving farmers and natural food producers out in the cold fighting to make a go of it against big corporations.

So, I can’t tell you how happy I was to see the Ontario Medical Association come out swinging…FINALLY against it all. Yes, finally. No one knows better the impact of an obese society than the medical profession.  Diabetes, heart attack, cancers, kidney disease, liver failure… can all be tracked to obesity and nutritional deficiencies.

Today, they delivered their opinion and hopefully governments will listen.  Who knows, they might actually listen since the OMA said the magic words… a new tax!!!!  Tax crappy food and reduce the tax on healthy foods! THAT IS A MASSIVE WIN-WIN.

“We are raising a generation of children that will suffer from devastating and wholly preventable diseases, overwhelm the health system, and die prematurely. We need immediate and strong legal action to address what Ontario’s doctors are now seeing in the diabetes clinics and the stroke centers, and on the operating table: a full-scale public health crisis.”

“The time for gentle admonitions has come and gone. We need to fight this problem with proven tools like tax incentives and graphic warnings. There is an enormous body of evidence that these measures work.”

Dr. Doug Weir
Ontario Medical Association

Dr. Weir didn’t sugar coat this and he sure didn’t pussy foot around the issue.  It is a “full scale public-health crisis.”

All our tax dollars collectively are funding a 2.2 Billion to 2.5 Billion dollar epidemic that can be fixed.  I don’t know about you but I think that funneling that money to things like education, social programs, infrastructure or any number of other big-ticket tax items would do all of society much more good than combatting preventable diseases.

Courtesy OMA

Highlights of the OMA’s suggestions are:

  •  Increasing taxes on junk food and decreasing tax on healthy foods;
  •  Restricting marketing of fatty and sugary foods to children;
  • Placement of graphic warning labels on pop and other high calorie foods with little to no nutritional value;
  • Retail displays of high-sugar, high-fat foods to have information prominently placed advising consumer of the health risks; and
  •  Restricting the availability of sugary, low-nutritional value foods in sports and other recreational facilities that are frequented by young people.

The recommendations put forward today build on the actions Ontario’s doctors have already called for including:

  • Legislation that would require calorie contents to be listed adjacent to the items on menus  and menu boards at chain restaurants and school cafeterias;
  • An education campaign to help inform Ontarians about the impact of caloric intake on weight and obesity; and
  • Making physical activity/education mandatory throughout high school. (uhm, how about grades K-12??)

    Courtesy OMA

This is a chance for all of you to show your support for the OMA and their common sense suggestions. Let your MPP know that you support the OMA and want to see real changes before it’s too late!

For the full press release click here.

Follow the OMA and President on Twitter: @OntariosDoctors and @WeirDoug and Facebook




  1. People are just raising their children the same way they were raised. I think most people don’t know where to start in preparing good, healthy meals……from scratch with just ingredients from the earth. Why are they not teaching this in school? I’d rather know how to make a hearty vegetable soup instead of the periodic table of elements……..think it will improve my life more……unless I want to be a chemist I guess!

  2. This approach is OK. It just burns me that it is necessary. People know better yet continue to make bad choices, many times a day! I wonder if health care user fees for obesity related conditions would help, over time? Frankly, I resent paying for health care for people that can’t be bothered when we all have to pay for other healthcare tests that are part of thorough preventative care. The additional tax they may collect for these foods could provide subsidies to reward and reinforce healthy behaviours — fitness, education, etc.

    1. I agree with everything the OMA is suggesting including increased taxes and graphic warnings for junk food. It works, just ask former smokers (like me). But I dont think it’s fair to impose user fees for obesity related conditions. Almost everyone engages in unhealthy activities sometimes or has a “crutch” which could be viewed as an unhealthy habit. Unfortunately with obese people (the crutch being food) is out in the open for everyone to see. If as a society we want to start imposing users fees for overweight or obese people, that’s fine, BUT fair is fair:
      1.) I’m not paying for the tests and surgery for the driver who ran a red light and wrapped his car around a pole….
      2.) I refuse to pay for the liver tests, blood tranfusions etc for some-one who drank on a consistent basis and now needs a new liver… (dont care if alcoholism is a disease, you know better)
      3.) Ditto for the cyclist who did not wear a helmet…
      4.) If you dont get 7-8 hours of sleep every night and you get really sick? Come one, everyone knows you need enough sleep!
      5.) You weren’t careful enough while cooking dinner and cut your finger open and need stiches? Sorry, call your local vet.
      6.) Opps, you contracted a sexually transimitted disease…. Pay up front for your tests and meds-unless you can prove you used a condom.
      All of the above happen everyday and the potential list is endless. As a former smoker and former chubby girl my advice is to be careful…. because you never know when your “crutch” or bad judgement could be next on the user fee list.

  3. I do see your point, but still dislike paying for self-induced health conditions (of all sorts – what we were talking about here was obesity, and not chubby). I’m a little uneasy with the government dictating my lifestyle through taxation – I guess I’ve never really liked being told what to do. I think the graphic warnings are good – they’re informative and impactful. It would be tough to hand your child something to eat that has a hideous graphic warning on it. Still think that you need to offer a carrot when carrying a big stick so people are encouraged to sustain and continue to evolve toward a better lifestyle.

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