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Old Thu, Aug-28-03, 11:41
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gotbeer gotbeer is offline
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Default Ireland: "Fat heads for new tax"

Fat heads for new tax

Ireland mulls a levy on fatty foods to curb expansion of the national waistline due to prosperity.

August 28, 2003: 11:12 AM EDT

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DUBLIN, Ireland (Reuters) - Ireland, noted for fried breakfasts of epic proportions, is chewing over the possibility of a special tax on fatty foods to tackle rising obesity levels.

Faced with an epidemic of expanding waistlines as the Irish enjoy unprecedented prosperity, Health Minister Michael Martin confirmed he was "very tentatively" examining slapping a levy on high-fat comestibles.

A proliferation of restaurants and fast-food joints during the country's celebrated "Celtic Tiger" boom of the late 1990s and an increasingly sedentary national lifestyle are among factors blamed for a rise of nearly 70 percent in the number of those overweight or obese over the last decade. "Some 60 percent of our population is now either overweight or obese and we would welcome any initiative [by the government] to tackle the problem," Michael O'Shea, chief executive of the Irish Heart Foundation, told Reuters.

Figures earlier this year showed 14 percent of Irish men and 12 percent of Irish women were obese. Some 32 percent of Irish children were overweight and 10 percent classified as obese.

News the government is eyeing high-fat snacks follows recent moves to crack down on alcohol abuse -- including a ban on pub "happy hours" -- and a national furor over plans to prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants, beginning next January.
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