Article

Agricultural Policy and Childhood Obesity

John Cawley and Barrett Kirwan

in The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736362
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199736362.013.0028

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Agricultural Policy and Childhood Obesity

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This chapter investigates the extent to which agricultural policies contribute to childhood obesity. It starts by exploring the policies that directly affect production, such as agricultural subsidies (i.e., price supports, production subsidies, and farmland subsidies), acreage controls, tariffs on imported commodities, and agricultural extension research. The chapter then evaluates the policies aimed at stimulating the demand for food, such as commodity-distribution programs and commodity-promotion programs, and proposes the reforms that would better align agricultural policy with health policy regarding childhood obesity. Agricultural subsidies fall into three main categories: price supports, production subsidies, and farmland subsidies. The United States imposes tariff-rate quotas on imports of certain agricultural commodities. Banning the use of checkoff funds to develop and market fast food could decrease the prevalence of being overweight by 1.4 percent among those aged 3–11 years and by 1.1 percent among those aged 12–18 years.

Keywords: agricultural policies; childhood obesity; price supports; production subsidies; farmland subsidies; acreage controls; tariffs; commodity

Article.  4715 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare

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