The Economics Of Obesity And Obesity

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The Economics of Obesity Obesity’s presence has reached much larger magnitudes than ever before in human history. 33% of adults and above 20% of children in the U.S. are classified as obese as concluded by Duke University (“Over a Lifetime”). Although obesity appears to be strictly a medical problem, many new studies are showing that obesity is linked to numerous factors such as society, technology, politics, and economics. As a result of multifarious fields, reducing childhood obesity in the U.S. is not a simple task; rather, the solutions to reduce obesity must tackle many different fronts. One of the greatest contributing factors towards the growing rate of childhood obesity is economics. Although childhood obesity is a growingly…show more content…
As a result, the majority of food consumed by people of a lower socioeconomic status is cheaper, higher in energy and calories, and therefore results in a greater calorie intake. An alternative hypothesis to this claim, however, states that people of a higher socioeconomic status have more money to spend on food, and therefore are more susceptible to obesity. However, John Cawley, current professor of the Departments of Economics and Policy Management at Cornell University, disproves this claim by stating “higher income… enables consumers to substitute healthier, more costly food for cheaper energy-dense food… increasing demand for good health or an attractive appearance” (Cawley). Another reason which explains why obesity unfairly targets the lower class revolves around the ability to exercise. Carl Frederick, Kaisa Snellman, and Robert Putnam, all professors at Harvard University, note people living in low income areas “have fewer playgrounds, sidewalks, and recreational facilities” (Frederick). Comparatively speaking, the Harvard professors also noted that people of a high socioeconomic status participate in more “high school sports and clubs… while [participation is] decreasing among their low socioeconomic status peers” (Frederick). The lack of a physically active lifestyle in low socioeconomic status communities also explains why obesity is more prevalent in these areas. Due to consuming higher energy dense foods at a cheaper
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