Economics Debate: Why Are We Getting Fatter?

The Wall Street Journal has posted another economics debate. This time it is between Darius Lakdawalla and Carol Graham, on the topic of American obesity (No subscription needed for 10 days).

The debate can be found here.

My favorite parts:

It’s no secret that Americans have been getting fatter over the last several decades. But in fact, weight has been rising for more than 150 years, as shown by the economic historians Dora Costa and Richard Steckel. From the Civil War to the 1990s, the weight of a 6-foot-tall American male increased by about 30 pounds on average.

These historical trends are not hard to understand. As we have gotten wealthier and more technologically advanced, food has gotten cheaper and work more sedentary. Both these factors have contributed to rising weight over the time-frame of centuries, and the recent rise in obesity has likewise been fueled by reductions in the price of food.

The full debate can be found here.

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