Health Tax

This morning I was doing some exercise at home and thought about why I do not do this at the local gym where there is access to a swimming pool, classes and a fully equipped gym with equipment that I would never think about buying or using. My main reason would be the travel to the gym along with finding a parking space and the cost.
It was then that I thought about the cost of gym membership which can be anything from £15-£50 in my area. The cost of gym varies depending up on the equipment and whether there is a swimming pool and other bits of extra kit.

It then crossed my mind that with the current worries of an obesity crisis and potential increase of people with type 2 diabetes that we as a society should be looking at ways to incentive healthy living. I know there was talk of health care providers money being used to pay for gym membership so that in the future hopefully the people who used the gym would be less likely to encounter life style health issues.

The other way that this has been looked at is by trying to add a tax on to unhealthy foods such as a sugar tax on sugary drinks. This may increase revenue for the government and health providers to cope with life style health problems but will more than likely not reduce the consumption of these unhealthy items. It has always been said that humans respond better to a benefit approach rather than a burden approach. So it is unlikely a sugar tax or similar will show positive effects unless it is set at a very high level.

May be it would be better if exercise spending could be paid out of untaxed income rather than taxed income like it is currently. This may lead to more people taking up social sports along with gym memberships and other health benefiting activities. Over the longer term this would then lead to a healthier nation and hopefully a reduced reliance on the health service.

While writing this post there has been and article in the Daily Mail about how the NHS may recommend intensive lifestyle change programmes for people with weight or health issues that may be rectified by the program there is a link to this article on the facebook page I do like the idea but also think any programme should be rolled out to all people.

Another way would be to subsidise fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods. I know this was talked about in the past but government interventions on deciding what is good for people have not always been successful and have actually encouraged people to buy things that are actually unhealthy. So this may not be the right way to go.

Thinking this through further and with people talking about mental health maybe this  should also be a candidate for something that could be paid for from before taxes income. This may lead to more people searching for mental health help along with removing pressure on the health service.
I know some people will look at this as being a way of privatising the health service. I do not think we should look at this as privatisation of the health service but instead a complimentary service.

We all need to take charge of our health and I believe this is a way that could be used to incentivise people to improve their health.

What do you think? Would you be more likely to take up exercise?

The Normal Person

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