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What is the public appetite for healthy eating policies? Evidence from a cross-European survey

  • Mario Mazzocchi (a1), Silvia Cagnone (a2), Tino Bech-Larsen (a3), Barbara Niedźwiedzka (a4), Anna Saba (a5), Bhavani Shankar (a6), Wim Verbeke (a7) and W Bruce Traill (a8)...
Abstract

World Health Organization estimates that obesity accounts for 2–8% of health care costs in different parts of Europe, and highlights a key role for national policymaking in curbing the epidemic. A variety of healthy-eating policy instruments are available, ranging from more paternalistic policies to those less intrusive. Our aim is to measure and explain the level of public support for different types of healthy eating policy in Europe, based on data from a probabilistic sample of 3003 respondents in five European countries. We find that the main drivers of policy support are attitudinal factors, especially attribution of obesity to excessive availability of unhealthy foods, while socio-demographic characteristics and political preferences have little explanatory power. A high level of support for healthy eating policy does not translate into acceptance of higher taxes to fund them, however.

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Corresponding author
*Correspondence to: Mario Mazzocchi, Associate Professor, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, Via Belle Arti 41, 40124 Bologna, Italy. Email: m.mazzocchi@unibo.it
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Health Economics, Policy and Law
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