mobile-bannertablet-bannerdesktop-banner
TIME.com stock photos Food Snacks Candy
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

This Place Just Became the First Part of the U.S. to Impose a Tax on Junk Food

Mar 30, 2015
TIME Health
For more, visit TIME Health.

The Navajo Nation, which suffers from a 10% obesity rate, is imposing a 2% junk-food tax on its reservation beginning April 1.

Navajo president Ben Shelly approved the Healthy Dine Nation Act last November, which from this week will also eliminate a 5% sales tax on healthy fare including fresh fruits and vegetables.

Revenues from the sin tax will reportedly be channeled toward community wellness projects like farmer's markets, vegetable gardens and greenhouses in the 27,000 sq. mi. of Navajo reservation spanning from Arizona and New Mexico to Utah.

Approximately 24,600 Navajo tribe members face obesity, according to the Navajo Area Indian Health Service. Type 2 diabetes has emerged as a growing public health concern afflicting up to 60% of reservation residents in some areas.

With nearly half of the Navajo youth population facing unemployment and 38% of the Navajo reservation at the poverty level, supporters say the act may serve as a prototype for sin taxes to curb obesity in low-income communities across the U.S.

By comparison, around one-third of Americans nationwide are classified as obese, the highest rate in the world.

See the 10 Healthiest Cities to Live in America

Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii Best Place for Lifelong Health The heavenly climate helps, but the key to well-being here also includes enviable health care and a rich cultural tradition of looking out for one another.Colin Anderson—Blend Images/Corbis
Honolulu, Hawaii
San Francisco, California
Burlington, Vermont
Silicon Valley
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Boulder, Colorado
Plano, Texas
Portland, Oregon
Boston, Massachusetts
Provo, Utah
Honolulu, Hawaii Best Place for Lifelong Health The heavenly climate helps, but the key to well-being here also includes
... VIEW MORE

Colin Anderson—Blend Images/Corbis
1 of 10
All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.