Obesity Policy and Welfare

Public Affairs Quarterly 33 (2):115-136 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Governments can try to counter obesity through preventive regulations such as sugar taxes, which appear to raise costs or reduce options for consumers. Would the regulations improve the welfare of adult consumers? The regulations might improve choice sets through a mechanism such as reformulation, but the scope for such improvement is limited. Otherwise, a paternalistic argument must be made that preventive regulations would improve welfare despite reducing choice. This paper connects arguments about obesity, health, and choice to a philosophically plausible view of welfare. On the negative side, two errors to avoid are failing to see the limited value of health and thinking that findings of irrationality would alone settle arguments about welfare. On the positive side, preventive regulations could make people better-off if welfare is the satisfaction of preferences and if preventive regulations could better satisfy preferences by overcoming certain forms of irrationality. The leading evidence is from widespread attempts to lose weight. However, at least for the United States, most adults are not trying to lose weight, and that casts doubt on whether they would benefit from preventive regulations. If they would not, that seems a strong albeit not decisive reason against these regulations.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,931

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Obesity, equity and choice.Timothy M. Wilkinson - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (5):323-328.
Equity and preventive regulations.Elizabeth Fenton - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (5):329-330.
Fat Companions: understanding canine and feline obesity and its effects on welfare.Peter Sandoe, Sandra Cprr & Clare Palmer - 2014 - In Michael C. Appleby, Daniel M. Weary & Peter Sandøe (eds.), Dilemmas in Animal Welfare. Wallingford, Oxfordshire: CABI International. pp. 28-45.
Children and Added Sugar: The Case for Restriction.Theodore Bach - 2018 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (S1):105-120.
Children and Added Sugar: The Case for Restriction.Theodore Bach - 2015 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (5):105-120.
Addicted to Food, Hungry for Drugs.Bennett Foddy - 2010 - Neuroethics 4 (2):79-89.
Consumer behavior in childhood obesity research and policy.Lucia A. Reisch, Wencke Gwozdz & Suzanne Beckmann - 2011 - In Luis Moreno, Iris Pigeot & Wolfgang Ahrens (eds.), Epidemiology of Obesity in Children and Adolescents. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 431--454.


Added to PP

7 (#1,409,222)

6 months
7 (#489,614)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

Obesity, equity and choice.Timothy M. Wilkinson - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (5):323-328.
Obesity, paternalism and fairness.Johannes Kniess - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (11):889-892.

Add more references