A Behavioral Model of Cyclical Dieting
This paper presents a behavioral economics model with bounded rationality to describe an individual¡¯s food consumption choices that lead to weight gain and dieting. Using a physiological relationship determining calories needed to maintain weight, we simulate the food consumption choices of a representative female over a 30 year period. Results show that a diet will reduce weight only temporarily. Recurrence of weight gain leads to cyclical dieting, which reduces the trend rate of weight increase. Dieting frequency is shown to depend on decision period length, dieting costs, and habit persistence.
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