Economics of Obesity
By Arnold Kling
Obesity is getting increased attention from health policy experts and economists. Roger Bate writes,
My analysis is preliminary and in any case proves nothing, but it is indicative that fast food has little to do with overall obesity rates. If fast food were the main cause of weight gain, we would expect to see the UK and France, with high fast food penetration, being the most obese. Yet it is Greece that has the most obese population, with over 70 percent of adults clinically overweight, while the country has few McDonald’s restaurants.
The [International Obesity Task Force] claims that because many of the influences on obesity are cultural and environmental, “it is no longer acceptable to blame the individual for their obesity.” I couldn’t disagree more; ultimately the responsibility lies with the individual.
For Discussion. How should the cost of health care to treat obesity-related problems be allocated among the individuals themselves, taxpayers, and food providers?