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Elizabeth Vestal Comments on Obesity Epidemic

Elizabeth Vestal, policy analyst at the Schroeder Center for Health Policy, spoke with Daniel B. Wood of the Christian Science Monitor about what government can do to address obesity and whether government efforts have been successful in curbing the epidemic growth in obesity rates. Mr. Wood included comments from his conversation with Elizabeth in his story: “Supersize America: Whose Job to Fight Obesity?”

Elizabeth commented on soda taxes and zoning measures used by state and local governments to improve the local food environment. She says significant soda taxes, much like cigarette taxes, can reduce overall consumption but several studies show that consumers substitute higher-priced soda with other high caloric beverages.

Restrictive fast-food restaurant zoning is an increasingly popular obesity prevention measure following L.A.’s ban on fast-food restaurants in South L.A. Fast-food consumption is correlated with obesity but there is little current evidence to suggest that restricting one source of unhealthy food will have the intended effect of reducing overall rates of obesity.

Read more about Taxes and Zoning to Address Obesity in a policy brief by Elizabeth.