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A Behavioral Model of Cyclical Dieting

Author

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  • Steven M. Suranovic

    (The George Washington University)

  • Robert S. Goldfarb

    (The George Washington University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven M. Suranovic & Robert S. Goldfarb, 2005. "A Behavioral Model of Cyclical Dieting," HEW 0511002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwphe:0511002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
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    6. Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
    7. Suranovic, Steven M. & Goldfarb, Robert S. & Leonard, Thomas C., 1999. "An economic theory of cigarette addiction," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-29, January.
    8. Dockner, Engelbert J & Feichtinger, Gustav, 1993. "Cyclical Consumption Patterns and Rational Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 256-263, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert S. Goldfarb & Thomas C. Leonard & Sara Markowitz & Steven Suranovic, 2009. "Can A Rational Choice Framework Make Sense of Anorexia Nervosa?," NBER Working Papers 14838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Liu, Yaqin & Ferreira, Susana & Colson, Gregory & Wetzstein, Michael, 2013. "Obesity and Counseling," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149947, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Yaniv, Gideon & Rosin, Odelia & Tobol, Yossef, 2009. "Junk-food, home cooking, physical activity and obesity: The effect of the fat tax and the thin subsidy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 823-830, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dieting; Behavioral economics; Weight cycles;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I - Health, Education, and Welfare

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