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
Date Written: December 23, 2013
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: Suggested Citation