An economic analysis of obesity, health claims, and regulations

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Akowuah, Solomon
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Economics
Obesity is becoming an increasing cause of concern worldwide. This thesis examines the determinants and prevalence of obesity, and evaluates the potential health-related cost savings associated with the implementation and promotion of the health claim on low-calorie diets and obesity in Canada. Using data from 2004 Canadian community health survey and reviews of medical/nutritional literature, a Multilevel Multinomial Logistic Regression Model and a variation of Cost of illness approach reveal the following. We found that almost two-thirds of Canadians are overweight/obese. We also found that the aged, males, married, people born in America, less educated, physically inactive, and inadequate fruits/vegetable consumers have increased risk of becoming obese. A 5%-10% reduction in caloric intake due to health-information/health-claims results in nontrivial health-related base savings of CAD$2.09 billion with range of CAD$360 million to CAD$4.18 billion. Stronger economic policies such as subsidies/taxes on low-calorie/high-calorie diets could potentially lead to social optimal calorie consumption.
cost savings , food health claims , health costs , obesity