Skip to main content

Alternative Fat Taxes to Control Obesity


This paper examines three alternative types of fat taxes to determine how effective they may be in reducing obesity. Upon the examination of the available evidence as to the effectiveness of fat taxes in reducing obesity authors conclude that all types of fat taxes are not sufficiently specific in targeting obesity. In some cases imposition of fat tax may actually lead to reversal of the intended effect. Therefore, the use of taxes to reduce obesity and promote healthy outcomes is not recommended.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Chouinard,H. H., Davis , D. E., LaFrance, J. T., & Perloff, J. M. (2007). Fat taxes: big money for small change. Forum for Health Economics & Policy 10 (2).

  • Chuive, S., Sampson, L., & Willett, W. (2010). Do nutritional rating systems promote a healthy diet? An evaluation of the overall quality index (ONQI) and risk of chronic disease. The Journal of the Federation of American Studies for Experimental Biology. Abstract. Available at:

  • Clark, J. S., & Levedahl, J. W. (2005). Will fat taxes cause Americans to become fatter? An application to US meats. Selected paper at the International Association of Agricultural Economists, Brisbane, Australia, Aug. 2005.

  • Clark, J. S., Prochazka, P., & Levedahl, J. W. (2006). Fat taxes in a comprehensive food demand system. Montreal: The joint Canadian and Canadian Agricultural Economics Association Meetings.

    Google Scholar 

  • Institute of Medicine. (2005). Food marketing to children and youth: Threat or opportunity? Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Katz, D. L., Njike, V. Y., Kennedy, D., & Treu, J. (2007). Overall nutritional quality index, reference manual. Derby: Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, Griffin Hospital.

    Google Scholar 

  • Katz, D. L., Njike, V. Y., Rhee, L. Q., Reingold, A., & Ayoob, K. T. (2010). Performance characteristics of NuVal and the Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91, 1102s–1108s.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, D., & Kawachi, I. (2006). Food taxation and pricing strategies to thin out the obesity epidemic. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30(5), 430–437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schroeter, C., Lusk, J., & Tyner, W. (2008). Determining the impact of food price and income changes on body weight. Journal of Health Economics, 27, 45–68.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smed, S., Jensen, J. D.,& Denver, S. (2005). Differentiated food taxes as a tool in health and nutrition policy, Selected paper at the European Association of Agricultural Economists, Copenhagen, Denmark, Aug. 2005.

  • Sohini, P., Dhar, T., & Baylis, K. (2009). The effects of a nutrient based tax scheme in Canada, Consumer Demand Research Network meeting. Ottawa May, 2009.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. Stephen Clark.

Additional information

Supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (Project No. MSM6046070906).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Clark, J.S., Dittrich, O.L. Alternative Fat Taxes to Control Obesity. Int Adv Econ Res 16, 388–394 (2010).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Fat tax
  • Obesity
  • Nutrient index
  • Nutrition
  • Health


  • H2
  • I1