About 2400 lives a year could be saved by putting a 20 per cent tax on our saltiest, fattiest foods and by cutting the price of fruit and vegetables with a 20 per cent subsidy.
The system of penalties and rewards would swing purchasing towards healthier options, gradually leading to a healthier population, say researchers from the universities of Auckland, Otago and Oxford, who estimated the likely effects on New Zealand death rates.
Based on Statistics NZ data, they modelled the effects of a 20 per cent price increase or decrease of quantities purchased and subsequent death rates from heart attack, stroke, diabetes and diet-related cancers.
Where does it stop? Or does it ever stop?
Next there’ll likely be ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ music, art, and literature. It’ll be declared that music has as profound an effect on people as the food and drink they consume, as it excites or calms them, raising and lower their heart rate and blood pressure.
‘Research’ will appear showing that fans of heavy metal music ( a.k.a. ‘head-bangers’) die an average of 7.53 years younger than classical music fans, with Handel aficionados outliving almost everyone by 3.72 years. Black Sabbath albums will start to carry health warnings.
In fact, almost anything with a powerful beat will carry a health warning if it’s any faster than a ‘normal’ heartbeat (40 – 60 beats per minute), and particularly if the beat changes or accelerates (‘May cause heart attacks’).
Dance music too – (‘May cause premature arthritis’).
The lyrics also will come in for scrutiny, and penalised for ‘sending the wrong message’.
‘Healthy’ music will largely consist of crooners singing about climate change and recycling and the majestic beauty of wind farms. ‘Unhealthy’ music will be sold in plain brown packaging plastered with health warnings, and kept behind shutters.
None of the ‘scientific research’ will be worth the paper it’s written on. Its conclusions will have all been determined from the outset. For ‘healthy’ has become (and perhaps always was) a term of moral approval, and ‘health’ is a set of approved moral values.
And of course there’ll be ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ visual arts. Pornography of any kind will carry health warnings, of course (‘May cause blindness’ or ‘Your eyes will fall out’).
The Rolling Stones poster below has just been banned in London:
And this one has also been banned:
The Advertising Standards Authority received 378 complaints that the Protein World poster implied other body shapes were inferior.
The ads were defaced in Tube stations and a petition called for its banning.
However, the campaign had already been pulled over concerns that its health claims did not have EU authorisation.
The ASA began receiving the first of the complaints just after it banned the advert in April.
The watchdog was also asked to investigate whether the image used was socially irresponsible in the context of a campaign for a slimming product.
Protein World said it did not consider that the poster implied that people should look like the model or that the text and image were irresponsible.
Nobody has stated the obvious, of course, which is that this is a damn sexy image (although I can’t put my finger on just quite why it’s so sexy), and that’s really what puritans can’t stand.
Anyway, here’s some music that probably would have health warnings attached: