Obesity and nutrient consumption: A rational addiction?

Timothy Richards, Paul M. Patterson, Abebayehu Tegene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Recent research shows that the dramatic rise in obesity in the United States is due more to the overconsumption of unhealthy foods than underactivity. This study tests for an addiction to food nutrients as a potential explanation for the apparent excessive consumption. A random coefficients (mixed) logit model is used to test a multivariate rational addiction model. The results reveal a particularly strong addiction to carbohydrates. The implication of this finding is that price-based policies, sin taxes, or produce subsidies that change the expected future costs and benefits of consuming carbohydrate- intensive foods may be effective in controlling excessive nutrient intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-324
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Economic Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Administration


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