On Curbing Obesity
Public policies to combat obesity (with the notable exception of Let’s Move, initiated by Michelle Obama) tend to focus on reducing caloric intake (dieting). These efforts often fail and have some negative side effects and multiple economic and human costs. To the extent that we are dealing with individuals (rather than with societal factors) a more effective policy would give more weight to exercise as compared to dieting and, above all, focus on parents (and thus on young children) rather than on adults. This is the case because as children become adults, their BMI is set to a very considerable extent.