Costs of and reasons for obesity

J Cardiometab Syndr. Summer 2008;3(3):173-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-4572.2008.00012.x.


The purpose of this literature review was to identify and describe the cost of obesity, the contributing factors, and the use of taxation as a possible method of control of this epidemic in a Canadian setting. A review of the current literature found on the PubMed/MEDLINE services of the National Institutes of Health as well as an analysis of Web content was conducted. The PubMed/MEDLINE search identified 677 articles pertaining to Canada and obesity, 323 articles relating to price policy, 26 articles concerning obesity and taxes, and 29 articles about obesity, Canada, and cost (1964-March 2007). The cost of obesity in Canada has been estimated at $4.3 billion per year, although no yearly figures are available. The contributing factors of obesity in Canada are multivariate, ranging from dietary patterns and physical inactivity to the availability of high-calorie foods at a low cost and greater accessibility. No Canadian studies have been conducted on the use of taxes to curb obesity or evaluating food price elasticity. The available literature suggests that the use of taxes is a viable option to address the issue of obesity in Canada.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Care Costs / trends*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / economics*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • United States