Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Steven Vanderheiden


In this paper I attempt to establish a link between government agricultural policies of subsidies and the increasing obesity epidemic that is seen across the globe. I attempt to design a research project that explores these dynamics and uses three distinct regional areas for comparison. In this paper I compare the United States, the European Union, and Japan and South Korea to see if government agricultural policy as well as trade implications play a role in rising body mass index (BMI) and obesity. The reason for comparison is due to the level of development coupled with a unique comparison of different food cultures and historically different food cuisines. This allowed me to try and measure the impact of subsidy policy as well as the role of trade implications in affecting the diet and health of the resident population. This study was an attempt to bridge the gap between agricultural policy implications and the affect on BMI and obesity as current research has only hinted at such implications. I conclude by exploring the significance of my study’s findings as well as elaborate on the shortcomings of this type of investigation and the implications for future research surrounding this topic.