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Should we introduce a fat tax to stop the rise in obesity?

Details of an Economist/ICA debate on the 13th May 2004.

We are told that the greatest health risk facing Britons today is obesity – and that this will significantly reduce the life expectancy of the next generation. This is a complex issue, bringing in economics, demographics – and how far the state should legislate on what we do to our bodies. But how free are we as individuals to choose what we eat? Do we need government intervention to tackle the nutritional consequences of poverty? If so, should this take the form of a 'fat tax' – akin to the way we tax cigarettes to dissuade people? There is an acknowledged western slump into the sedentary life – but can we educate people to enjoy exercise? Can we limit the consequences of a 'bad diet'?

With speakers

  • Dr Mike Rayner, Director, British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group and chair of the Nutrition Expert Group of the European Heart Network

  • Martin Paterson, Deputy Director General, Food and Drink Federation

  • Jim Dowd, MP for Lewisham West and member of Health Select Committee

  • Jeremy Preston, Director, Food Advertising Unit, Advertising Association


ICA - London


Emma Duncan, Britain Editor, The Economist


Dr Mike Rayner | talks
Martin Paterson | talks
Jim Dowd MP | talks
Jeremy Preston | talks


Date and Time:

13 May 2004 at 6:45 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)
The Mall
+44 20 79 30 36 47
Show map

Organised by:

The Economist
See other talks organised by The Economist...



£8, £7 concs, £6 ICA members

Available from:

The ICA box office on 020 7930 3647

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