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Conservative MP calls for a 'fat tax'

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Photo: DPA
14:55 CEST+02:00
Overweight people and others who pursue unhealthy lifestyles should have to pay more into Germany's healthcare system to cover the extra costs they create, a conservative politician said on Thursday.

Marco Wanderwitz, a federal MP from the state of Saxony and head of the conservative Christian Democrats' group of young parliamentarians, said the health costs created by fat people should not forever be borne by the rest of the community.

“The question must be admitted whether the immense costs that, for example, arise from excessive consumption of food, can be permanently paid out of the consolidated health system,” he told daily Bild.

“I think it's sensible that people who knowingly live unhealthily carry a responsibility for it in a financial respect.”

Wanderwitz, 34, describes himself on his website as a keen squash and football player.

Health economist Jürgen Wasem joined the call, demanding that Germany consider a “chocolate tax.”

“One should, as with tobacco, tax the purchase of unhealthy consumer goods at a higher rate and partly maintain the health system. That applies to alcohol, chocolate or risky sporting equipment such as hang-gliders.”

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According to the Bild report, one study has found that fat people cost the health system €17 billion a year.

Opposition Social Democrats health spokesman Karl Lauterbach sharply rejected the idea that the overweight should pay higher contributions to the statutory health insurance system, describing it as an idiotic suggestion.

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