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Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adult Obesity Prevalence in South Africa: A Decomposition Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(4), 4007-4025; doi:10.3390/ijerph110404007

Economics of Obesity — Learning from the Past to Contribute to a Better Future

1,* , 2
Received: 1 February 2014 / Revised: 28 March 2014 / Accepted: 28 March 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity)
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The discipline of economics plays a varied role in informing the understanding of the problem of obesity and the impact of different interventions aimed at addressing it. This paper discusses the causes of the obesity epidemic from an economics perspective, and outlines various justifications for government intervention in this area. The paper then focuses on the potential contribution of health economics in supporting resource allocation decision making for obesity prevention/treatment. Although economic evaluations of single interventions provide useful information, evaluations undertaken as part of a priority setting exercise provide the greatest scope for influencing decision making. A review of several priority setting examples in obesity prevention/treatment indicates that policy (as compared with program-based) interventions, targeted at prevention (as compared with treatment) and focused “upstream” on the food environment, are likely to be the most cost-effective options for change. However, in order to further support decision makers, several methodological advances are required. These include the incorporation of intervention costs/benefits outside the health sector, the addressing of equity impacts, and the increased engagement of decision makers in the priority setting process.
Keywords: obesity; prevention; economic evaluation; priority setting; interventions obesity; prevention; economic evaluation; priority setting; interventions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ananthapavan, J.; Sacks, G.; Moodie, M.; Carter, R. Economics of Obesity — Learning from the Past to Contribute to a Better Future. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 4007-4025.

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