International Journal of Obesity advance online publication 7 February 2017; doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.5

Economics and obesity policy

J L Lusk1

1Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA

Correspondence: Dr JL Lusk, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University, 411 Ag Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA. E-mail:

Received 14 March 2016; Revised 27 July 2016; Accepted 13 December 2016
Accepted article preview online 12 January 2017; Advance online publication 7 February 2017



This paper elucidates the challenges surrounding the economics of some popular obesity-related policy proposals. Solid economic justifications for anti-obesity policies are often lacking, and evidence suggests policies like fat and soda taxes or restrictions on food stamp spending are unlikely to substantively affect obesity prevalence. In short, many of the same factors that make obesity such a complicated and multifaceted issue extend to the economic analysis of public health policies.

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