The Effects of Farm and Food Policy on Obesity in the United States

That's the title of a new book by Julian Alston and Abigail Okrent.  Right now it's only available as an ebook, but the hard copy should be out soon.  Here's the publisher's description.

This book uses an economic framework to examine the consequences of U.S. farm and food policies for obesity, its social costs, and the implications for government policy. Drawing on evidence from economics, public health, nutrition, and medicine, the authors evaluate past and potential future roles of policies such as farm subsidies, public agricultural R&D, food assistance programs, taxes on particular foods (such as sodas) or nutrients (such as fat), food labeling laws, and advertising controls. The findings are mostly negative—it is generally not economic to use farm and food policies as obesity policy—but some food policies that combine incentives and information have potential to make a worthwhile impact. This book is accessible to advanced undergraduate and graduate students across the sciences and social sciences, as well as to decision-makers in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.


I had the pleasure of seeing a pre-release copy of the book and provided the following blurb:

That obesity is a serious challenge in America is undeniable. Yet, appropriate policy responses are far less clear. The Effects of Farm and Food Policy and Obesity is a tour de force. Alston and Okrent provide a solid economic framework for thinking about obesity policies, bust myths about the causes of the problem, and offer nuanced solutions. The book is a must read for anyone seriously interested in role of food and agricultural policy in addressing obesity.