Friday 16 September 2022

Axe the tax, Liz

More from me on reports that Liz Truss may be ditching Boris Johnson's obesity strategy and repealing the sugar tax...

In public health circles, it is considered terribly gauche to expect policies to work. You might think, for example, that a trailblazing intervention designed to reduce obesity would be considered a failure if obesity rates rise to record highs after it has been implemented. Not so with the sugar tax. Obesity among both children and adults has gone up since it was introduced in 2018, but the health lobby does not consider it to be a failure. Contrary to the evidence of your eyes, they say, it has actually been a success. The only failure is the failure of the government to do lots of other things in addition.

This is one of a number of ways in which ‘public health’ differs from medicine. If a patient’s health gets worse after being given some pills, doctors do not claim that the treatment has been a success and double the dose.


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