Obesity and the Economics of Prevention
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Obesity and the Economics of Prevention

Fit not Fat

Before 1980, rates were generally well below 10%. They have since doubled or tripled in many countries, and in almost half of the OECD, 50% or more of the population is overweight.  A key risk factor for numerous chronic diseases, obesity is a major public health concern.   

This book contributes to evidence-based policy making by exploring multiple dimensions of the obesity problem. It examines the scale and characteristics of the epidemic, the respective roles and influence of market forces and governments, and the impact of interventions. It outlines an economic approach to the prevention of chronic diseases that provides novel insights relative to a more traditional public health approach. 

The analysis was undertaken by the OECD, partly in collaboration with the World Health Organization. The main chapters are complemented by special contributions from health and obesity experts, including Marc Suhrcke, Tim Lobstein, Donald Kenkel and Francesco Branca. 

"a valuable set of results and suggestions about the best preventive interventions to reduce the burden of obesity."   – Julio Frenk, Dean, Harvard School of Public Health


"The positive message of this book is that the obesity epidemic can be successfully addressed."   – Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General, World Health Organization


"innovative and well-researched"  – Martin McKee, Professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine


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Publication Date :
23 Sep 2010

Introduction: Obesity and the Economics of Prevention You do not have access to this content

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Unprecedented improvements in population health have been recorded in OECD countries during the past century, thanks to economic growth and to public policies in education, sanitation, health, and welfare. Yet industrialisation and prosperity have been accompanied by increases in the incidence of a number of chronic diseases, for which obesity is a major risk factor. This chapter looks at the impact of obesity on health and longevity and the economic costs that obesity generates, now and for the future. It examines the role of prevention in mitigating these effects and presents a case for how an economic perspective on the prevention of chronic diseases linked to lifestyles and obesity can provide insight into better ways of addressing the obesity epidemic.
Also available in: French