Obesity is a complex, multifaceted health problem/disease not only in the United States but also globally. Coverage of the obesity epidemic has been quite extensive across medical, sociological, psychological, political, and economic disciplines for at least 30 years. The pronounced focus on obesity prevention is not surprising because rates of incidence have increased sharply with no sign of abatement. A selective review of the literature relevant to agricultural economics is provided on this topic. In this review, various issues are addressed: (1) the metrics of obesity; (2) the causes and consequences of obesity; (3) the role of government in attempting to reduce obesity rates; and (4) insights from behavioral economics in combatting the incidence of obesity.

JEL classifications: A1, Z0