The growth of obesity and technological change
This paper presents a dynamic theory of body weight and develops its implications. We argue that technological change has induced weight growth by making home- and market-production more sedentary and by lowering food prices through agricultural innovation. In addition, we illustrate that, while exercise and food intake are complements, reductions in exercise will always raise optimal body weight, as will increases in food intake. We also characterize how body weight varies with income, both within a country, and across countries. Within a country, income may have an inverted U-shaped relationship with body weight, due to the offsetting effects of the demand for food, and the demand for an ideal body weight. This can have important implications for the body weight impacts of public transfer programs. Across countries, however, mean weight is likely to be higher in richer countries. Finally, we present descriptive empirical evidence that illustrates the inverted U-shaped relationship between body weight and income in US males, and suggests the importance of secular trends in weight gain, which are consistent with the impacts of broad-based technological changes.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994.
"Beauty and the Labor Market,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
- Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004.
"An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
- Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Tomas Philipson, 2001. "The world-wide growth in obesity: an economic research agenda," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(1), pages 1-7.
- Dora L. Costa & Richard H. Steckel, 1995.
"Long-Term Trends in Health, Welfare, and Economic Growth in the United States,"
NBER Historical Working Papers
0076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dora Costa & Richard H. Steckel, 1997. "Long-Term Trends in Health, Welfare, and Economic Growth in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 47-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2000.
"The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions,"
NBER Working Papers
7527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
- Katz, Lawrence & Goldin, Claudia, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Scholarly Articles 2624453, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Richards, Timothy J. & Patterson, Paul M. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2004.
"Obesity and Nutrient Consumption: A Rational Addiction?,"
28539, Arizona State University, Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management.
- 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, 07.
- Richards, Timothy J. & Patterson, Paul M. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2004. "Obesity And Nutrient Consumption: A Rational Addiction?," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20079, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
- Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
- John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
- Araujo, A, 1991. "The Once but Not Twice Differentiability of the Policy Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1383-93, September.
- Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Yuhui Zheng, 2011.
"Food Prices and the Dynamics of Body Weight,"
in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 65-90
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Komlos & Ariane Breitfelder & Marco Sunder, 2008.
"The Transition to Post-industrial BMI Values Among US Children,"
NBER Working Papers
13898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Komlos, John & Breitfelder, Ariane & Sunder, Marco, 2008. "The transition to Post-industrial BMI values among US children," Discussion Papers in Economics 4304, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Schroeter, Christiane & Lusk, Jayson & Tyner, Wallace, 2008. "Determining the impact of food price and income changes on body weight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 45-68, January.
- Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2007. "Labor Supply and Weight," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:3:p:283-293. 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: (Zhang, Lei)
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.