President Rafael Correa of Ecuador has announced a sweeping movement to crack down on the country’s soaring obesity rates by imposing a tax on junk food, including fast food, reports The Independent.
“People are dying from bad food, not a lack of food,” Correa reportedly told journalists. “People will stop eating so many McDonald’s and Burger King hamburgers [with this tax]. This favors the production of our traditional gastronomy.”
Latin America is experiencing some of the world’s fastest-rising obesity rates thanks to strong economic growth and urbanization, and adult obesity rates within the region range from half the population in some countries, to three quarters in others.
Last year, Mexico imposed a soda tax to fight obesity, and Brazil and Chile are reportedly considering similar measures.
Speaking about the presence of fast food companies in Ecuador, Correa told reporters, “If you want to make yourself sick, that is your problem. We are in a free country. But those who deliberately affect your health, they should contribute a little more to the healthcare system to help you once you are ill.”
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.