In what could be the world’s first fat tax, the State Employees’ Insurance Board of Alabama is to charge extra insurance premiums for employees with a body mass index over 35 from 2010.
The southern state enjoys the dubious status of being the most obese in the whole of the US, just pipping Mississippi for the top prize.
Now before you make any jokes about fat Americans, there is a serious point here.
We are consuming too much, whether its pizza with extra cheese injected into the crust – that great invention of the Americans, gasoline or plastic bags.
The world’s metaphoric waistline is expanding beyond its means and maybe this type of tax is the way forward to make us consume less.
But, of course, being overweight can be genetic and is very often nothing at all to do with overeating.
The giant portions in American restaurants don’t help, however. Americans must throw more food away than Africa eats each day.
Perhaps the fast-food companies should be ones penalised.