Health, body weight, and obesity

Darius N. Lakdawalla, Julian Reif

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The rise in obesity has generated enormous concern among policy makers and the general public. Economists have focused on explaining the causes of this rise, along with the attendant implications for public policy. This chapter summarizes the economic literature on the theory of weight determination, including the optimal determination of food intake and exercise, and the influence of prices and peer effects. In addition, the chapter reviews the empirical literature that tests a range of explanations for the rise in obesity, such as declining food prices, increasing price of exercise, rising income, peer effects, and the decline in cigarette consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Economics and Human Biology
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780199389292
StatePublished - Aug 6 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Causes of obesity
  • Cigarette consumption
  • Economics of obesity
  • Economics of physical activity
  • Food prices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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