Agricultural subsidies and the American obesity epidemic

Am J Prev Med. 2013 Sep;45(3):327-33. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.04.010.


Government-issued agricultural subsidies are worsening obesity trends in America. Current agricultural policy remains largely uninformed by public health discourse. Although findings suggest that eliminating all subsidies would have a mild impact on the prevalence of obesity, a revision of commodity programs could have a measurable public health impact on a population scale, over time. Policy reforms will be important determinants of the future of obesity in America, primarily through indemnity program revisions, and the allocation of increasing amounts of resources to sustainable agriculture. Public health intervention will be required at the policy level to promote healthy behavioral changes in consumers. The 2013 Farm Bill will be the key mechanism to induce such policy change in the near future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / economics*
  • Financing, Government
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • United States / epidemiology