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Social Dynamics Of Obesity

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  • MARY A. BURKE
  • FRANK HEILAND

Abstract

We explain the recent increases in obesity in the United States with a model involving falling food prices, endogenous social body weight norms, and heterogeneous human metabolism. Calibrating an analytical choice model to American women in the 30‐ to 60‐yr‐old age bracket, we compare the predicted weight distributions to National Health and Nutrition Examination survey data spanning (intermittently) the years 1976–2000. The model, the first to describe explicitly complete weight distribution dynamics for this group, predicts average weights and obesity rates with considerable accuracy and captures a significant portion of the recent growth in upper quantile weights. (JEL D11, I12, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Mary A. Burke & Frank Heiland, 2007. "Social Dynamics Of Obesity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 571-591, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:45:y:2007:i:3:p:571-591
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-7295.2007.00025.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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