The economic scale of obesity
In America, concern about the health risks, medical care costs, and other consequences of obesity has led to a host of policies and programmes implemented by companies, school districts, and governments to prevent and reduce obesity. It has also resulted in a large body of economic research on the causes and consequences of obesity, and on approaches to prevent and reduce obesity.
Economic solutions, taxes, incentives, and information, do not offer any single strategy that is likely to have more than a modest effect. Strategies like junk food taxes are promoted with projections that sound great, the hard economic truth is that these estimates are subject to many limitations. None are backed by solid evidence that they will have more than a modest effect and they may well have unintended consequences.
From this review the evidence suggests that there is no single dominant economic cause of obesity; a wide variety of factors may contribute a modest amount to the risk. In different groups and different circumstances, the effects may be large or insignificant. Studies of economic approaches to preventing obesity, such as menu labelling, taxes on energy-dense foods, and financial rewards for weight loss, see only modest effects on weight and thus a range of policies may be necessary to have a substantial effect on the prevalence of obesity.