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Israel planning to slap special tax on junk food to curb ballooning obesity

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The Israeli government is taking concrete steps to help Israelis eat right, with the help of the Tax Authority.

The Tax Authority agrees to support a special tax on unhealthy foods, it said this week, to encourage healthy eating habits and help curb obesity. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry for the first time endorsed a plan that will permit special labeling of healthy foods.

"There are countries that tax unhealthy food," Eran Yaakov, deputy director general for finance and development at the Tax Authority told Haaretz, and the authority would like to examine the approach as one way of encouraging healthy eating. He said he would convene a committee with representatives from the health and education ministries to promote the idea of taxing unhealthy food.

According to Health Ministry data, 37 percent of Israeli adults are overweight and another 15 percent are chronically obese. Fourteen percent of Israeli youth are overweight and another seven percent are obese. It is estimated that the excess weight among Israelis costs the Israeli economy NIS 5.8 billion a year in healthcare costs.



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