The Health Consequences of Intertemporal Preferences
Handbook of Self-Control in Health and Wellbeing, 2017
24 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2019
Date Written: 2017
Intertemporal tradeoffs, the conflict between current and future costs and benefits, lie at the core of health decisions. An extensive literature on time discounting has documented the widespread tendency to place a lower value on distant outcomes and to favor benefits in the moment. These tendencies have been linked to key challenges to long-term health, including lack of exercise and preventative care, substance abuse, unsafe sex, overconsumption of calories and obesity. Understanding when and how people think of time, future outcomes, future resources, and their future selves may shed light on how to motivate health-promoting behaviors.
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