Dutch government sets out to tackle obesity


The Dutch government wants to reduce taxes on water and sugar-free soft drinks, making them cheaper for consumers. At the same time, it wants to discourage the sale of alcohol and junk food, in the struggle against obesity.


Prevention is key

A litre water or cola light would be nine eurocent cheaper after becoming exempt from tax, with which the government hopes to encourage people to drink more healthy drinks, says Dutch newspaper AD. In a draft version of an agreement on prevention, the government and the food industry, bars and restaurants, education and insurance companies stated they want to reduce the number of obese people to the level of 1995 by 2040. "If we do nothing, 62 % of the adults in the Netherlands will be obese by 2040", is the warning cry. 


The initiative is part of a broader range of measures, including the increase of alcohol prices and a ban on big discount actions on alcohol. Marketing for unhealthy products aimed at children will also be banned and the government hopes to get the food industry to agree on lowering portion sizes. Moreover, sports clubs will not be allowed to seek sponsoring from unhealthy products and they will have to make sure their cafeterias have healthy alternatives for junk food. All this, combined with measures to increase the number of people who sport, should make the Netherlands healthier again.