Determinants of support for government involvement in obesity control among American adults

Ami R. Moore, Foster Amey, Elias Mpofu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Obesity takes a substantial toll on society as a whole. Obesity and its health-related complications contribute significantly to healthcare costs and negatively affects almost every aspect of human life. It is therefore reasonable for the government to be involved in finding solutions to control the epidemic. This article examined factors that influence support for government intervention in the obesity epidemic in the United States. We used data from Obesity in the United States: Public Perceptions, a survey of a nationally representative sample of American adults. We conducted OLS regression analysis, to understand how three main covariates that described beliefs about causes of obesity and a series of controls impact support for government intervention in obesity control. There was a significant negative relationship between support for government intervention and beliefs about causes of obesity. Also, political ideology and party affiliation significantly influenced support for government intervention. For instance, while Democrats were more supportive of government interventions to control obesity, Republicans were not supportive of such intervention. Additionally, race and environmental characteristics of place of residence significantly influenced support for government intervention. Further, there were significant joint effects of political affiliation, race, and weight status on support for government intervention. Unlike previous studies, we find that one of the important factors that drive people to either support or abhor government intervention is the perception of what causes obesity. It is important that public health officials and other stakeholders understand the intricacies of public support for obesity control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-796
Number of pages12
JournalTranslational Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Determinants
  • Government involvement
  • Obesity control
  • Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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