Economic aspects of obesity prevention

Open access

Economic aspects of obesity prevention

Governments in OECD countries have intervened in a variety of ways to improve diets, increase physical activity and tackle obesity in recent years. The preventive interventions assessed in this analysis are drawn from the most commonly used approaches, including: health education and health promotion (mass media campaigns, school-based interventions, worksite interventions); regulation and fiscal measures (fiscal measures altering the prices of healthy and unhealthy foods, regulation of food advertising to children and mandatory nutrition labelling); and, counselling of individuals at risk in primary care. This report examines the characteristics, the costs and the relative success of each approach in improving health outcomes and social disparities in health, with specific reference to the European context.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Sassi F Cecchini M Lauer J Chisholm D. Improving lifestyles tackling obesity: the health and economic impact of prevention strategies. OECD Health Working Paper No. 48. Paris: OECD Publishing 2009.

  • Dixon H Borland R Segan C Stafford H Sindall C. Public reaction to Victoria's ‘2 Fruit and 5 Veg Every Day’ campaign and reported consumption of fruit and vegetables. Prev Med 1998; 27(4): 572-82.

  • Foerster SB Kizer KW Disogra LK Bal DG Krieg BF Bunch KL. California's ‘5-a-day-for better health’ campaign: an innovative population-based effort to effect large scale dietary change. Am J Prev Med 1995; 11(2): 124-31.

  • Craig CL Tudor-Locke C Bauman A. Twelve-month effects of canada on the move: a population-wide campaign to promote pedometer use and walking. Health Educ Res 2007; 22(3): 406-13.

  • Gortmaker SL Cheung LW Peterson KE Chomitz G Cradle JH Dart H et al. Impact of a school-based interdisciplinary intervention on diet and physical activity among urban primary school children: eat well and keep moving. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1999; 153(9): 975-83.

  • Luepker RV Perry CL Osganian V Nader PR Parcel GS Stoen EJ et al. The child and adolescent trial for cardiovascular health (CATCH). J Nutr Biochem 1998; 9(9): 525-34.

  • Perry CL Bishop DB Taylor G Murray DM Mays RW Dudovitz BS et al. Changing fruit and vegetable consumption among children: the 5-a-Day Power Plus program in St. Paul Minnesota. Am J Public Health 1998; 88(4): 603-9.

  • Reynolds KD Franklin FA Binkley D Raczynski JM Harrington KF Kirk KA et al. Increasing the fruit and vegetable consumption of fourth-graders: results from the high 5 project. Prev Med 2000; 30(4): 309-19.

  • Sorensen G Thompson B Glanz K Feng Z Kinne S DiClemente C et al. Worksite-based cancer prevention: primary results from working well trial. Am J Public Health 1996; 86(7): 939-47.

  • Sorensen G Stoddard A Hunt MK Hebert JR Ockene JK Avrunin JS et al. The effects of a health promotion-health protection intervention on behavior change: the WellWorks Study. Am J Public Health 1998; 88(11): 1685-90.

  • Sorensen G Stoddard A Peterson K Cohen N Hunt MK Stein E et al. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption through worksites and families in the treatwell 5-a-day study. Am J Public Health 1999; 89(1); 54-60.

  • Emmons KM Linnan LA Shadel WG Marcus B Abrams DB. The Working Healthy Project: a worksite health promotion trial targeting physical activity diet and smoking. J Occup Environ Med 1999; 41(7): 545-55.

  • Buller DB Morrill C Taren D Aickin M Sennott-Miller L Buller MK et al. Randomized trial testing the effect of peer education at increasing fruit and vegetable intake. J Natl Cancer Inst 1999; 91(17): 1491-500.

  • Hespel V Berthod-Wurmser M. La pertinence et la faisabilité d'une taxation nutritionnelle. Paris: Inspection Générale de Finances et Inspection Générale des Affaires Sociales 2008.

  • Chou S Rashad I Grossman M. Fast-food restaurant advertising on television and its influence on childhood obesity. J Law Econ 2008; 51(4): 599-618.

  • OFCOM. Changes in the Nature and Balance of Television Food Advertising to Children: a review of HFSS advertising restrictions. Available 10. 6. 2011 on:

  • Variyam JN. Do nutrition labels improve dietary outcomes?. Health Econ 2008; 17(6): 695-708.

  • Variyam JN Cawley J. Nutrition Labels and Obesity. NBER Working Paper No. 11956. Cambridge MA: National Bureau of Economic Research 2006.

  • Ockene IS Hebert JR Ockene JK Merriam PA Hurley TG Saperia GM. Effect of training and a structured office practice on physician-delivered nutrition counseling: the Worcester-Area Trial for Counseling in Hyperlipidemia (WATCH) Am J Prev Med 1996; 12(4): 252-8.

  • Hebert JR Ebbeling CB Ockene IS Ma Y Rider L Merriam PA et al. A dietician-delivered group nutrition program leads to reductions in dietary fat serum cholesterol and body weight: the Worcester-Area Trial for Counselling in Hyperlipidaemia (WATCH). J Am Diet Assoc 1999; 99(5): 544-52.

  • Pritchard DA Hyndman J Taba F. Nutritional counselling in general practice: a cost-effective analysis. J Epidemiol Community Health 1999; 53(5): 311-6.

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 210 132 6
PDF Downloads 76 55 3