Australia could save billions of dollars and increase the life expectancy of its inhabitants in one easy sweep — by employing a two-pronged approach and taxing junk food while subsidizing healthy options. This stick-and-carrot approach should yield better results than the sum of its parts alone, a new study concludes.We all share that special love-hate relationship with junk food — it’s probably the common denominator of the modern man. Nobody’s ever said “let’s have a healthy bag of bacon-wrapped bacon snacks with a side-dish of cheesy puffs to start our diet along”. But junk food is accessible, tasty, and cheap, so it often wiggles into our diet — pushing rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other health issues.In a bid to lower their popularity, many countries are considering adding a tax on such products. France, Mexico, and some US cities already tax sugary drinks. Hungary has a “chips tax” in place for packaged foods with a high sugar and salt content. Other countries such as India have gone the other way and toyed with making healthy options more accessible through government subsidy programs.
Taxing junk food and subsidizing healthy items will make us live longer and save billions in the health system