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Obesity And Nutrient Consumption: A Rational Addiction?

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  • TIMOTHY J. RICHARDS
  • PAUL M. PATTERSON
  • ABEBAYEHU TEGENE

Abstract

Recent research shows that the dramatic rise in obesity in the United States is due more to the overconsumption of unhealthy foods than underactivity. This study tests for an addiction to food nutrients as a potential explanation for the apparent excessive consumption. A random coefficients (mixed) logit model is used to test a multivariate rational addiction model. The results reveal a particularly strong addiction to carbohydrates. The implication of this finding is that price‐based policies, sin taxes, or produce subsidies that change the expected future costs and benefits of consuming carbohydrate‐intensive foods may be effective in controlling excessive nutrient intake. (JEL D120, I120, C230)

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Richards & Paul M. Patterson & Abebayehu Tegene, 2007. "Obesity And Nutrient Consumption: A Rational Addiction?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(3), pages 309-324, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:25:y:2007:i:3:p:309-324
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-7287.2007.00047.x
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