Obesity and Self-Control: Food Consumption, Physical Activity and Weight-Loss Intention

Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Volume 36, Issue 1, March 2014, pp. 125-145

31 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2014

See all articles by Maoyong Fan

Maoyong Fan

Ball State University - Department of Economics

Yanhong Jin

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway

Date Written: December 23, 2013

Abstract

We find that despite a stronger intention to lose weight, overweight and obese individuals in the United States are less likely to meet the federal recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, energy and nutrient intakes, and physical activity than are normal-weight individuals. By utilizing the Rotter score that measures self-control capability, we find that obese individuals exhibit a lower degree of self-control than normal-weight individuals, and that this lack of self-control is associated with poor eating and exercise behaviors, as well as increased Body Mass Index and obesity risk. We discuss three mechanisms that are regularly employed to overcome self-control problems: physician advice, improvement in the built environment, and commitment devices. Our results suggest that knowledge based anti-obesity intervention policies are likely to have limited effects.

Keywords: Obesity, self-control, food consumption, physical activity, weight-loss intention, doctor’s advice, nudging, commitment device

JEL Classification: D03, D91, I18, I38

Suggested Citation

Fan, Maoyong and Jin, Yanhong, Obesity and Self-Control: Food Consumption, Physical Activity and Weight-Loss Intention (December 23, 2013). Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Volume 36, Issue 1, March 2014, pp. 125-145. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2542344

Maoyong Fan (Contact Author)

Ball State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Whitinger Business Building, room 201
2000 W. University Ave.
Muncie, IN 47306-0340
United States
765-285-5741 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/maoyongfan/home

Yanhong Jin

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway ( email )

94 Rockafeller Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

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