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Health Promot Perspect. 2020 Jan 28;10(1):8-12. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2020.04. eCollection 2020.

Fat taxation in India: A critical appraisal of need, public health impact, and challenges in nationwide implementation.

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Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry - 605008, India.
National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.


National Nutritional Monitoring Bureau survey (2017) has found that more than half of the adults in India were overweight and obese. To halt this rising epidemic, development of various policy measures has been suggested in National action plan for prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases. One such measure is the introduction of fat tax which is a surcharge or tax placed on food and beverages containing high amounts of fat. Government of India has made various direct budgetary initiatives for boosting the sectors related to the production of items rich in fat, sugars and salt without realizing the potential public health consequences. Hence, increasing the taxes for unhealthy junk foods should encourage the people to take healthier food options which in turn lead to positive impact on health. However, fat taxationfaced several challenges during implementation in countries like Denmark, Hungary, France and United States. Major challenges were the taxation debate, setting tax limit and encroaching into the autonomy rights of people. Evidences have shown that taxation alone cannot bring down the burden of non-communicable diseases but should be combined with measures like subsidies and access to healthy food items, public health education campaigns and programmes.


Food Legislation; India; Noncommunicable diseases; Taxes

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