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Patrick Petit, Mario Mansour, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Fighting the obesity epidemic has so far proven a difficult challenge, given the diversity of natural and processed foods, the complexity of food supply chains, and the fact that targeting excessive caloric consumption is far trickier than reducing overall consumption (as for tobacco). Nevertheless, efforts to curb caloric intake are gearing up and the experience from tobacco control has drawn much attention on a potential role for excise taxes in fighting obesity. Many related questions have therefore been raised as part of the IMF’s capacity development work: Should excises on unhealthy food be used to fight obesity? If so, under what conditions? What are the product and market characteristics that would help identify the relevant tax bases and the rates at which to tax them? While acknowledging that the scientific evidence keeps evolving, this note summarizes the ongoing debate and practice on food excises and on their potential role as a policy tool to fight the obesity epidemic, with a view to assist policymakers in deciding whether to go forward, and if so, how.How to Apply Excise Taxes to Fight Obesity
International Monetary Fund
This supplement provides country case studies on public health care expenditures and reform experiences in eight advanced and six emerging market economies. The case studies for the advanced economies seek to highlight specific episodes of success in containing public health spending during the past 30 years. For the emerging economies, the case studies take a broader approach and examine reform experiences and challenges during the past two decades rather than focusing exclusively on episodes of successful reform. The lessons from the case studies for other countries are integrated into the main Board paper.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
IMF Deputy Managing Director Eduardo Aninat leaves the IMF on July 1 to return to Chile, where he was Finance Minister from 1994–1999. Aninat joined the IMF’s four-member management team in December 1999, with broad responsibilities in running the IMF—including overseeing the launching of a major technical assistance initiative in Africa. He talks with Laura Wallace about the late May opening of the West Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (West AFRITAC) in Mali (see article below), seven months after the opening of a similar center in East Africa.