Governments across the world are trying to take the strain away from expensive health services with a mix of ‘carrot and stick’ measures.
Table of contents
The latest target is fast food as politicians look for ways to raise taxes and reduce spending.
In Ecuador, South America, charismatic President Rafael Correa is putting a draft bill before parliament to raise taxes on fast food outlets.
“Too many people are ignoring traditional cuisine in favour of burgers from McDonald’s and Burger King,” said the president.
“Fast food is as much a threat to the health of the nation as alcohol and cigarettes.”
How much he intends to levy from the sale of burgers and fries is as yet unclear, but is expected to be enough to deter many customers.
Straight talking president
The likelihood of the bill failing is remote, as Correa holds an overwhelming majority in Parliament.
Ecuador has a spending deficit of almost 5%, and the president hopes the tax will help fill the hole in the nation’s finances.
However, critics claim the measure is unlikely to succeed in reducing health problems from eating fast food, as traditional Ecuadorean food drips in fat and carbohydrates.
Correa remains undeterred. His straight-talking view boils down to the fact that if you want to make yourself ill by eating poor food, drinking or smoking, then you should expect to pay more towards the nation’s health service that will treat your problems.
Although Ecuador has a spending deficit, the economy is growing at a rate of about 4% a year, and like many other emerging economies, is switching from producing to consumption of goods and services.
Bad food problems
The result is Ecuadorians have cash to spend – and a proportion of that money is going into the tills at the nation’s 26 McDonald’s outlets.
“Our problem is people are becoming ill because of eating bad food, not from a lack of food,” said Correa in his typical hard-hitting style.
On average two-thirds of the population, including children, are overweight or obese because they suffer from a poor diet and lack of exercise.
Meanwhile, in Malta, trade unions want workers to concentrate on their health as well – by proposing the government should make gyms and health clinics free.
The unions also put forward budget proposals for removing tax on motorcycles and an underground train network to cut traffic chaos on the Mediterranean island.
Related Articles, Guides and Insights
Below is a list of some related articles, guides and insights that you may find of interest.
Questions or Comments?
We love to get feedback from our readers. So, after reading this article, if you have any questions or want to make comments, send us a message on this site or our social media?
Don’t forget that you can also request the guides sent directly to your email inbox.