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Annex B. Author’s and Contributors’ Biographies

Annex B. Author’s and Contributors’ Biographies

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Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Before

joining the OECD, Michele’s research focused on patient mobility in relation to

perceived quality of care and on equity of access to health services.

Marion Devaux is a statistician in the OECD Health Division. She holds a

masters degree in statistics from the École Nationale de la Statistique et

Analyse de l’Information (ENSAI, France). She previously worked on the

intergenerational transmission of health inequalities at the Institute for

Research and Information in Health Economics (IRDES, Paris), and published

in academic journals. At the OECD, she has contributed to a range of projects

on the prevention of obesity, the health care financing and the health systems

characteristics. Her main contribution to the OECD Economics of Prevention

project consisted in the analysis of trends over time in obesity and overweight

in OECD countries, including attempts to disentangle age, period and cohort

effects. She also examined existing disparities in obesity among

socio-economic groups, the relationship between education and obesity, and

social multiplier effects on the spread of obesity, using household-based

national health survey data.

Francesco Branca is director of the Department of Nutrition for Health

and Development at the World Health Organisation, Geneva, and is

responsible for strategic and managerial guidance in the areas of Growth

Assessment and Surveillance; Nutrition Policies and Scientific Advise;

Reduction of Micronutrient Malnutrition; Nutrition in the Life Course.

Francesco graduated in medicine and surgery and specialised in diabetology

and metabolic diseases at the Catholic University of Rome. He obtained a PhD

in nutrition from Aberdeen University. He was a senior scientist at the Italian

Food and Nutrition Research Institute where he was responsible for the design

and implementation of studies on the effects of food and nutrients on human

health at different stages of the life cycle, and for the design, management and

evaluation of public health nutrition programmes. Francesco was president of

the Federation of the European Nutrition Societies in 2003-07.

Donald S. Kenkel is a professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and

Management at Cornell University, Ithaca, United States, where he has been

based since 1995. He received his PhD in economics from the University of

Chicago in 1987. Most of Don’s research is on the economics of disease

prevention and health promotion. He is the author of the chapter on

prevention in the Handbook of Health Economics (2000). He conducted a series

of studies on the economics of public health policies, including: alcohol taxes

and other policies to prevent alcohol problems (Journal of Applied Econometrics,

2001; American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 2005); cigarette taxes to

prevent youth smoking (Journal of Political Economy 2002); and advertising to

promote smoking cessation (Journal of Regulatory Economics, 2007, and Journal of

Political Economy, 2007). Another area of research and teaching interest is in




cost-benefit analysis of public policies, especially policies that affect health.

He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In 2005 he was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel.

Tim Lobstein is Director of Policy and Programmes at the International

Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO), based in the United Kingdom, and

policy co-ordinator for the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF). He was

previously Director of the UK Food Commission, and a consultant on food and

nutrition policy to the European Commission, the World Health Organisation

and several national and international non-governmental organisations.

Professor Lobstein is a visiting fellow at the University of Sussex Science Policy

Research Unit, United Kingdom, a Rudd Visiting Fellow at Yale University,

United States, and adjunct professor of public health advocacy at Curtin

University, Western Australia.

Marc Suhrcke is a professor of public health economics at the University

of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom. He is also the health economics

lead in the new UKCRC funded centre of excellence in public health research,

the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a collaboration of the

Universities of Cambridge and East Anglia. Previously he worked as an

economist at the WHO European Office for Investment for Health and

Development (Venice), where he was in charge of work on Health and

Economic Development. His other former professional experiences include:

the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (Florence), Hamburg University, the

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (London), the Centre for

European Policy Studies (Brussels), and the European Commission (Brussels).

His background is in economics and his main current research interests are:

health and economic development, economics of prevention, socio-economic

determinants and inequalities of health.

Tracey Strange contributed to the editing and writing of the book. She is a

freelance writer and media consultant. She is co-author of Sustainable

Development in the OECD Insights series and has collaborated on other titles in

the series as editorial advisor. Tracey manages the OECD Insights blog and is

developing social media applications and communications material for several

OECD activities. She is participating in the OECD Future Global Shocks project,

working on the emerging risk landscape. Tracey also has a background in

user-driven innovation research for multinational clients in France and the

United States with a focus on qualitative research, analysis, concept and

prototype development for clients from the medical and lifestyle-related sectors.



OECD PUBLISHING, 2, rue André-Pascal, 75775 PARIS CEDEX 16


(81 2010 09 1 P) ISBN 978-92-64-06367-9 – No. 57461 2010

Obesity and the Economics of Prevention

Obesity and the Economics

of Prevention


Franco Sassi

Obesity has risen to the top of the public health policy agenda worldwide. Before 1980, rates were

generally well below 10%. They have since doubled or tripled in many countries, and in almost half

of the OECD, 50% or more of the population is overweight. A key risk factor for numerous chronic

diseases, obesity is a major public health concern.


Franco Sassi

There is a popular perception that explanations for the obesity epidemic are simple and solutions

within reach. But the data reveal a more complicated picture, one in which even finding objective

evidence on the phenomenon is difficult. Policy makers, health professionals and academics all

face challenges in understanding the epidemic and devising effective counter strategies.

The analysis was undertaken by the OECD, partly in collaboration with the World Health

Organization. The main chapters are complemented by special contributions from health and

obesity experts, including Marc Suhrcke, Tim Lobstein, Donald Kenkel and Francesco Branca.

“This book presents a valuable set of results and suggestions about the best preventive

interventions to reduce the burden of obesity. It will aid any country concerned about this burden

in defining public policies aimed at altering current trends.” Julio Frenk, Dean, Harvard School of

Public Health

“The positive message of this book is that the obesity epidemic can be successfully addressed by

comprehensive strategies involving multiple interventions directed at individuals and populations.”

Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General, World Health Organization

“This innovative and well-researched book combines insights from a wide range of disciplines.

It provides a clear exposition of the evidence that policy makers need to take action.”

Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical



The full text of this book is available on line via this link:


Those with access to all OECD books on line should use this link:


SourceOECD is the OECD online library of books, periodicals and statistical databases.

For more information about this award-winning service and free trials ask your librarian, or write to

us at SourceOECD@oecd.org.

With the financial assistance

of the European Union

Obesity and the Economics of Prevention

This book contributes to evidence-based policy making by exploring multiple dimensions of the

obesity problem. It examines the scale and characteristics of the epidemic, the respective roles

and influence of market forces and governments, and the impact of interventions. It outlines an

economic approach to the prevention of chronic diseases that provides novel insights relative to

a more traditional public health approach.


ISBN 978-92-64-06367-9

81 2010 09 1 P


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