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Gluttony and sloth? Calories, labour market activity and the rise of obesity

Rachel Griffith, Melanie Lührmann and Rodrigo Lluberas
Journal article | Journal of the European Economic Association

The rise in obesity has largely been attributed to an increase in calorie consumption. We show that offi cial government household survey data indicate that calories have declined in England between 1980 and 2013; while there has been an increase in calories from food out at restaurants, fast food, soft drinks and confectionery, overall there has been a decrease in total calories purchased. Households have shifted towards more expensive calories, both by substituting away from home production towards market production, and substituting towards higher quality foods. We show that the decline in calories can be partially, but not entirely, rationalised with weight gain by a decline in the strenuousness of work and daily life. 

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This paper was presented at the Women's Economist Network (WEN) event on 23 June 2014 in London.
This presentation was given at the 'Understanding British Diet' event which took place as part of the ESRC festival of Social Science 2013
Briefing note
There has been a marked increase in body weight across much of the developed world. This has taken place, even though data suggest that there has not been an increase in calories consumed. This leads to a puzzle. If calories are declining, why are people gaining weight?
Video clip
This presentation was held at the Annual Congress of the International Institute of Public Finance
Journal article | CESifo Economic Studies
Corrective taxes have been implemented in a number of countries with the aim of addressing growing concern about the rise in obesity- and diet-related diseases. The rationale is that food consumption imposes costs on the consumer in the future that they do not fully take into account at the point ...
Increasing incomes, increasing waistlines?
Newspaper article