DP11086 Gluttony and Sloth? calories, labour market activity and the rise of obesity

Author(s): Rachel Griffith, Rodrigo Lluberas, Melanie Luhrmann
Publication Date: January 2016
Keyword(s): nutrition, obesity, time use
JEL(s): I12
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11086

The rise in obesity has largely been attributed to an increase in calorie consumption. We show that official government household survey data suggest that calories have declined in England from 1980 to 2013; while there has been an increase in calories from food out at restaurants, fast food, soft drinks and confectionery, overall there has been a decrease in total calories purchased. Households have shifted towards more expensive calories, both by substituting away from home production towards market production, and substituting towards higher quality foods. We show that this decline in calories can be rationalised with weight gain by the decline in the strenuousness of work and daily life.