The increased prevalence and costs associated with the obesity epidemic have made preventive efforts a public health priority. Public health has historically relied on a series of targeted regulations, taxes, and education efforts to curb epidemics, and will rely on similar strategies to combat obesity. We argue that interventions targeted at youth are relatively easy to justify on economic grounds due to the additional protections that this group requires, but that justification for government interventions aimed at curbing obesity among adults requires additional evidence that private markets are not functioning properly. We then present seven proposed intervention strategies to promote healthy eating, and use an economic framework to discuss the relative merits of the interventions. This evaluation will allow policymakers to make more informed decisions concerning the relative merits of these strategies in combating the obesity epidemic.
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