Childhood obesity rates are rapidly rising in many countries. Because it is highly likely that obesity will persist into adulthood, current rates undermine the health and future of people in developed as well as developing countries. This public health epidemic carries significant economic, social as well as individual-level consequences and has become a research topic of significant interest in various disciplines including economics. We survey the literature in economics and related disciplines associated with the causes of childhood obesity and synthesize the results to provide a better understanding of the explanations for the rising childhood obesity rates. This is an important step in crafting effective policies to combat global childhood obesity trends.
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