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Effectiveness of Obesity Prevention and Control


  • Thavorncharoensap, Montarat

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)


Implementation of evidence-based interventions to control obesity is regarded as a public health priority. In this working paper, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness evidence of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes, nutrition labeling, advertising bans on unhealthy food, and school-based interventions are reviewed. The review indicates that SSB taxes may be an effective and cost-effective intervention for obesity prevention and control. Regarding nutrition labeling, current evidence indicates that this has a significant impact on food selection. Although there is limited evidence on its impact on body mass index (BMI) and obesity prevalence, nutrition labeling is considered a cost-effective intervention in many settings. Further, while current evidence indicates that unhealthy food and beverage advertisements may increase dietary intake and the preference for unhealthy foods, especially in children, limited evidence demonstrates the impact of restricted unhealthy food advertising on BMI and obesity prevalence. However, such an intervention is considered to be cost-effective in many settings. Concerning school-based interventions, due to the limited number of good-quality studies as well as high variation across studies, the effectiveness of these interventions is inconclusive. Current evidence also suggests that school-based interventions are less likely to be cost-effective.

Suggested Citation

  • Thavorncharoensap, Montarat, 2017. "Effectiveness of Obesity Prevention and Control," ADBI Working Papers 654, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbiwp:0654

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Godfrey Themba & Joyce Tanjo, 2013. "Consumer Awareness and Usage of Nutrition Information in Botswana," Business and Management Horizons, Macrothink Institute, vol. 1(1), pages 44-58, June.
    2. Smith, Travis A. & Biing-Hwan, Lin & Lee, Jonq-Ying, 2010. "Taxing Caloric Sweetened Beverages: Potential Effects on Beverage Consumption, Calorie Intake, and Obesity," Economic Research Report 95465, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. Aizawa, Toshiaki & Helble, Matthias, 2016. "Socioeconomic Inequity in Excessive Weight in Indonesia," ADBI Working Papers 572, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    4. Kelly, B. & Halford, J.C.G. & Boyland, E.J. & Chapman, K. & Bautista-CastaƱo, I. & Berg, C. & Caroli, M. & Cook, B. & Coutinho, J.G. & Effertz, T. & Grammatikaki, E. & Keller, K. & Leung, R. & Manios,, 2010. "Television food advertising to children: A global perspective," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 100(9), pages 1730-1736.
    5. Fletcher, Jason M. & Frisvold, David E. & Tefft, Nathan, 2010. "The effects of soft drink taxes on child and adolescent consumption and weight outcomes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 967-974, December.
    6. Claro, R.M. & Levy, R.B. & Popkin, B.M. & Monteiro, C.A., 2012. "Sugar-sweetened beverage Taxes in Brazil," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 102(1), pages 178-183.
    7. Jou, Judy & Techakehakij, Win, 2012. "International application of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxation in obesity reduction: Factors that may influence policy effectiveness in country-specific contexts," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 83-90.
    8. Powell, L.M. & Wada, R. & Persky, J.J. & Chaloupka, F.J., 2014. "Employment impact of sugar-sweetened beverage taxes," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 104(4), pages 672-677.
    9. Falbe, J. & Thompson, H.R. & Becker, C.M. & Rojas, N. & McCulloch, C.E. & Madsen, K.A., 2016. "Impact of the Berkeley excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverage consumption," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 106(10), pages 1865-1871.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christine Lewis, 2019. "Raising more public revenue in Indonesia in a growth - and equity-friendly way," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1534, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item


    health; obesity; nutrition; nutrition labeling; sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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