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Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

Does "No Child Left Behind" Contribute to Obesity?

That’s the question posed in a new working paper by Patricia M. Anderson, Kristin F. Butcher, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. What would the mechanism/s be? “Schools facing increased pressures to produce academic outcomes may reallocate their efforts in ways that have unintended consequences for children’s health. For example, schools may cut back on recess and physical education in favor of increasing time on tested subjects.”

Expanding Waistlines Around the World

Obesity is far from just an American problem. These nifty maps from the Economist display average BMI for males around the world in 1980 and 2008, and the percentage change.

The Rational War on Fat

Is it likely that we’ll follow the perfectly rational incentives designed by benevolent governmental guardians to reduce obesity? Fat chance.

San Francisco Passes a Happy-Meal Ban

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has “passed an ordinance that will require meals to meet certain nutritional guidelines if restaurants wish to include a toy with the food purchase.”

Selling My Addiction

An unusual auction began late yesterday on eBay. I’m selling my “right to regain weight.” Why would anyone in their right mind be willing to pay me cash to buy this right? What does this even mean?

Betting on Yourself

Commitment devices are an increasingly popular weight-loss method, especially among economists. However, new research from Nicholas Burger and John Lynham indicates that betting on your own ability to lose weight may not be a sure thing.

Does Driving Cause Obesity?

People are significantly fatter in countries, states, and cities where car use is more common. Mass transit use, on the other hand, is correlated with lower obesity. But there has been scant evidence that public transportation actually causes widespread weight loss — until now.

The Rising Obesity Tide

Obesity continues to plague the U.S., with nine states now reporting that more than 30% of their population is obese.

Teen Sex, Binge Drinking, and Obesity

In “Binge Drinking & Sex in High School” (abstract here; PDF here), Jeffrey S. DeSimone argues that “binge drinking significantly increases participation in sex, promiscuity, and the failure to use birth control, albeit by amounts considerably smaller than implied by merely conditioning on exogenous factors.”

Vegetables: A Salty Menace?

The three major dietary sources of sodium are grains; meat, poultry, fish, mixtures; and vegetables. Surprised? So was Dubner. The explanation lies in the daily sodium density metric.

As Part of New Healthcare Law, Calorie Counts Go Nationwide

We’ve blogged a few times about the effect of calorie-count postings in restaurants in New York City – the extra information is valuable, but its efficacy in changing eating habits may be minimal among the people most likely to need a change. That said, the New York movement is now going national as part of the new healthcare law, which requires restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets to post calorie information at all their restaurants.

When the Solution Has No Price

One problem faced by a society that is always working toward solutions to various problems is that certain solutions, however effective, may go unused because they cannot be commodified.

Who Will Climb the Piano Stairs?

In Stockholm’s Odenplan subway station, the staircase has been retrofitted to resemble giant piano keys, which produce real sound, to encourage commuters to climb the stairs rather than ride the escalator. According to this video — which seems to be part of a Volkswagen marketing initiative, though it’s unclear — it’s been a raging success.

Nudges by Chopstick

Brian Wansink and Collin Payne recently examined the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI) and eating behaviors at all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets.

Who's Ready for a Fat Tax?

From a Wall Street Journal article by Betsy McKay come these tantalizing facts (emphasis added):

The medical costs of treating obesity-related diseases may have soared as high as $147 billion in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, as its new director set a fresh tone in favor of more aggressively attacking obesity.

From Treat to Threat: Scottish Chocolate Tax Defeated

| By two votes, the British Medical Association (BMA) has rejected a motion calling for a sin tax on chocolate in the United Kingdom. Dr. David Walker, of Lanarkshire, Scotland, says the treat poses at least as much a threat to health as alcohol does in the U.K., and should be taxed accordingly. “Obesity is a mushrooming problem. We are . . .

Are You Better for the Environment if You’re Tall or Short?

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is increasing the space between rows of seats on its planes. I’m not surprised — the Dutch are the tallest people on earth these days, as I discovered when I had to crane my neck around the Brobdingnagians in front of me in an Amsterdam movie theater. Like many Europeans, the Dutch are also very concerned . . .

Should Thinner People Fly Cheaper?

A story on Yahoo news mentions that the Philadelphia newspapers are running advertisements for a fake airline, Derrie-Air (get it?). The airline advertises that it is carbon-neutral, and that it charges per passenger pound — $1.40 from Philadelphia to Chicago, $2.25 from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. Screen shot from While quite mythical, this pricing structure is not unreasonable: the . . .

To Fight Global Warming We Must Tax All Recreational Exercise

A recent Lancet article argued that obesity is contributing to global warming because the obese consume more calories. Since making food releases carbon, that means an obese person, on average, is worse for global warming than a skinny person. (Not to mention the extra methane the obese might release, but that is my father’s area of expertise, not my own.) . . .

Is Your Neighborhood Making You Fat?

Parkside Market in Astoria, New York. The neighborhood grocery store is becoming an endangered species in many parts of the country, from New York to Seattle. Now, U.C.L.A. researchers have uncovered a link between the grocery gap and rising obesity, the Los Angeles Times reports. The study found that neighborhoods with dramatically more fast-food restaurants and convenience stores than supermarkets . . .