Doctors rejected calls for a "chocolate tax" in an attempt to curb rising obesity levels in the UK. The chocolate war was started by Nutritionist Dr David Walker, a GP in Lanarkshire as he claimed chocolate was the big factor in the obesity epidemic and the explosion of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.
At a conference Dr Walker said, “Obesity is mushrooming. We are heading the same way as the US.
“I see chocolate as a major player in this and the related medical conditions and I think a tax on products containing chocolate could make a real difference.
“There is lots of negative publicity about other fast food and junk food but chocolate is sneaking under the radar.”
He added that some people eat their daily calorie intake in chocolate on top of normal meals.
At a British Medical Association meeting in Clydebank, West Dunbarton, chocolates narrowly escaped by two votes. Julian Hunt, of the Food and Drink Federation, declared: “Taxes on foods that consumers love would result only in lighter wallets, not smaller waists.
“We already have to pay VAT on all our chocolate. While good for grabbing headlines, there is no evidence to suggest such ‘fat taxes’ would work in reality.
“Indeed, the BMA in 2003 voted against a similar idea because it would have no effect on obesity, would hit lower income groups hardest and would be a bureaucratic nightmare.”
The doctors at the conference agreeing with Walker’s concerns felt it would be better if health food could be subsidized and the public given a better understanding of what they should eat.
Charity Diabetes UK said, “We don’t believe a chocolate tax’ is the right approach to help cut the number of people who are overweight or obese.
“Education and information are needed to help make the right food choices and people should be encouraged to increase physical activity.”
Referring to the vote Dr Walker said, "I am disappointed that the motion was not supported by the conference, however, I am pleased that it has stimulated debate on obesity."
Giving doctors and nutritionists something to think about is Peggy Griffiths, in Abbotsham, Devon who turns 100 this week. Her regular diet consists of 30 bars of chocolate a week and she reckons she’s eaten 70,000 Cadbury Dairy Milk since she was five. Her daughter Eileen Osborne, 69, said, “Mum isn’t a big lady and her diet agrees with her.”
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