Of Junk Food and Junk Science
The popular press has triumphantly announced that the cause of the obesity epidemic is â€œjunk food.â€ After a momentâ€™s reflection, however, it seems likely that the true causal structure of the obesity epidemic can be neither single-equation nor univariate. Therefore, while the hypothesis that â€œjunk foodâ€ is the cause of obesity has little a priori plausibility, these articles in the popular press present a testable hypothesis that, in spite of some measurement impossibilities, is tested here. While one can always argue about p values etc., it is safe to say that the results show no evidence to indicate support for a causal link. The second section of the paper explains this result and suggests a rudimentary structural model of obesity that begins to address the issues of specification error, simultaneity, etc., that plague much of the obesity research. This model shows that because of the dynamic nature of weight status, there is no necessary reason to expect to find a statistical relation between a personâ€™s observed weight and the amount he or she is currently eating or exercising. Therefore, studies which regress weight, obesity, or the probability of obesity on eating and exercise patterns have serious specification error. Further development of structural econometric models of obesity may lead to consistent estimates of the partial effects of exogenous variables on obesity levels. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for policy development and industry.
Volume (Year): 12 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: 1 (202) 429-1610
Web page: http://www.ifama.org
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:ifaamr:53799. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.