Ethics Of Public Health, And Healthcare

1857 WordsFeb 4, 20178 Pages
With a growing epidemic of obesity in America, some states and lawmakers have resorted to taking unconventional measures in order to counter the growing issue. Many legislators are debating the effectiveness of a “fat tax” would be on limiting the consumption of soda, high fat foods, and high sugar foods, and ultimately reducing the rate of morbidity and mortality due to obesity. The idea is that long term consumption of high fat, high sugar foods and drinks lead to many health problems, so making them more expensive and less accessible should decrease the health issues related to their consumption. The main ethical concerns that have been raised with the idea of implementing a fat tax are: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and…show more content…
By carefully analyzing and breaking down the soda tax with considerations to all of Kass’s criteria, it can be determined that the soda tax passes all of the ethical considerations that are relevant to public health, and is thus ethically sound. The first question in Kass’s formulaic approach to the ethics of public health is “What are the public health goals of this program?” (Kass, 1777) By nature, the public health goal of any program is to essentially promote the overall health of a population through an organized and communal effort. In the case of the soda tax, the ultimate public health goal is simply to reduce the amount of morbidity & mortality and improve the well being of society. This begins by tackling the obesity problem, which is directly linked to morbidity & mortality. According to Brownell, “for each extra can or glass of sugared beverage consumed per day, the likelihood of a child’s becoming obese increases by 60%” (Brownell et al., 1599). It can be inferred that drinking soda is linked to obesity rates, but why should obesity rates matter? According to Sturm, “a higher BMI…is associated with increased mortality and increased risk for coronary heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and certain types of cancer. Even modest weight reductions can have substantial lifetime health benefits” (Sturm, 245). Obviously if someone is morbidly obese, he or she is at extreme risk for a myriad of
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