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A tree must be bent while it is young - a study about adolescents’ attitude about a fat tax and its influencing factors

Wiersch, Saskia (2013) A tree must be bent while it is young - a study about adolescents’ attitude about a fat tax and its influencing factors.

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Abstract:Background: Germany is one of the leading countries in Europe when it is about overweight population. There are several interventions applied to avoid or improve the situation. But which one is the most effective? A few countries implement the fat tax, a tax on fatty, unhealthy food, to prevent that people buy too much unhealthy food. The question was is there a basis for a fat tax in Germany? And do the body mass index, the socio-economical status, the school type and the personality play a role for introducing a fat tax? Respondents and Methods: To find an answer on the research questions a survey is developed. 65 adolescents were participating in this research. They were recruited by the social network platform Facebook and by personal contact at their school. The adolescents were asked about their demographics, their personality according to the dimensions of the Big 5 (a psychological model of the 5 dimensions of personality: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience), their attitude and their intention to join the fat tax. The variable attitude was formed by the dimensions evaluation and activity and the variable intention was formed by the dimensions willingness and probability. The questions were created in a 5-likert scale design. Next to descriptive statistics analyses, bivariate correlation methods were applied to measure the items. Results: The opinions about a fat tax are divided. Adolescents do support that the government is interfering in the eating behavior of the population, and they are also willing to eat more fruit and care more about a healthy diet. But they dislike the extra charge of 1,-€ on chocolate bars in their lunchroom. Furthermore they cannot imagine that a fat tax will affect their everyday life and they are also not willing to eat less chocolate. There is no correlation found between the variables SES and schooltype and the variables attitude and intention. The BMI correlates with one of the dimensions of the variable intention, namely willingness. The personality trait agreeableness is the only variable which correlates with both, attitude and intention. The remaining personality traits of the Big 5 do not correlate either with the variable attitude or with the variable intention. Conclusions: According to this research there is no basis for a fat tax in Germany. The majority is not willing to eat less chocolate, they do not like the idea of an extra charge of 1,-€, they even will get angry about an implementation of a fat tax. There is demand for other interventions conducted by the government. Adolescents like that the government is interfering in the affairs of the citizens. As a recommendation it can be said, that a new intervention should consider that agreeable persons are more likely to like the idea as well as to be willing to be part of this intervention.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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