The president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Ruth Collins-Nakai has called for a junk food tax to fight against “the epidemic of childhood obesity”.

Canada has among the highest rates of pre-school obesity in the world, says Collins-Nakai. “It’s a disgrace,” she said, suggesting that a solution could be to make healthier foods more available and less costly, by making “unhealthy choices less available and one way to do that is to tax them…it works for cigarettes.”

Taxes could be paid by consumers or levied on food manufacturers using unhealthy additives, Collins-Nakai suggested.

Last year, the CMA called for a ban on all junk food sales at Canadian schools.

Government statistics show some 8% of Canadian children and 23% of adults were obese in 2004.