IELTS essay, topic: Since obesity may be caused by fast food, should the government put a tax on fast food?
This is a model response to a Writing Task 2 topic from High Scorer’s Choice IELTS Practice Tests book series (reprinted with permission). This answer is likely to score IELTS Band 9.
Set 2 General Training book, Practice Test 8
Writing Task 2
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
It seems clear that obesity in today’s society is to some extent due to the availability of fast food.
Should governments place a tax on fast food to reduce the amount of fast food consumed?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.
You should write at least 250 words.
Obesity has become a common problem in western societies and this is partly due to the availability of fast food at low prices. To tackle this problem, it has been suggested that governments should increase the tax on fast foods in order to reduce the amount of pre-cooked meals consumed. I personally believe that this is a sound idea, because especially young people, who have less money, will be discouraged from buying food at quick service restaurants.
The main reason for the high consumption of junk food is that it is a cheap alternative to healthy meals. A salad for example often is twice as expensive as a burger, resulting in more people eating the burger than the salad. As a result, people prepare fewer meals themselves and eat more mass-produced food instead. In my opinion, it should not be possible to sell fast food at a lower price than staple food. By making takeaway meals more expensive than vegetables and fruit, people would change their eating habits, as they would want to save money.
Another way to reduce consumption of fast food would be to prohibit its promotion. A similar approach was taken in terms of advertising cigarettes and one can say that this approach has been successful to some extent. Additionally, commercials for fast food often target young children through offering inducements, such as the toys in the happy meal at McDonalds for example. The children are persuaded to demand a happy meal, yet often do not necessarily want to eat the food contained in it. The only thing they want is the toy. If advertising junk food were forbidden, the number of children consuming pre-cooked meals would be reduced and therefore the number of obese children would decrease as well.
In conclusion, governments should put a tax on fast food to reduce the amount consumed in order to decrease the number of obese people. By placing a tax on fast food and making it more expensive than healthy raw foods, people would began to eat more healthily. If additionally the advertising of quick service restaurants were banned, the number of obese people would decrease even more drastically.
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