In more than half of the OECD, 50% or more of the population is overweight. A key risk factor for a range of chronic diseases, obesity has become a major public health concern. This book contributes to evidence-based policy making by exploring multiple dimensions of the obesity problem.
The authors, including special contributions from health and obesity experts Marc Suhrcke, Tim Lobstein, Donald Kenkel and Francesco Branca, challenge the perception that explanations for the obesity epidemic are simple and solutions are within reach. A detailed look at the data reveals a more complicated picture, one in which even finding objective evidence on the phenomenon is a difficult task.
This important book examines the scale and characteristics of the epidemic, the respective roles and influence of market forces and governments, and the impact of interventions. It argues that efforts to prevent obesity and related chronic diseases can provide the means to increase social welfare and enhance health equity, relative to a situation in which chronic diseases are simply treated once they emerge. It outlines an economic approach to the prevention of chronic diseases that provides novel insights relative to a more traditional public health approach.
Policy makers, health professionals and academics in public and social policy, as well as health economists who are trying to understand the epidemic and devise an effective strategy to counter it, will find this a vital resource.