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Arun Khanna

I conjecture that fast food firms increase advertizing in years when average consumer disposable income per free hours per week (free hours=total hours-work hours-commute time-sleeping hours) goes up. In years with higher consumer income per free hour consumers making the leisure time/spending money on the margin tradeoff prefer buying fast food rather than cooking. Hence it appears like advertizing is correlated with growing children obesity when it is the underlying omitted variable which drives the relation.
In my subjective opinion, more and more people worldwide are making a socially sub-optimal tradeoff between making money versus time spent on parenting.

Josh Doherty

I have not seen the study, but it seems to focus on the "overall" levels of fastfood consumption. It seems to me that the study might be overlooking a key driver. Specifically, that it is focused on the generation of children produced by the Baby Boomers. More Baby Boomers = more (larger population pool)children = more overall cosumption of fastfood.

Finally, it seems unforgivable that the study would omit the previous findings of the influence of cost/gram of fat and the influence of sedentary activities. This smells like a government agency seeking to yank emotional strings to expand government influence/regulation.

Josh Doherty

Follow-up point:

Banning advertising of fatty foods might meant that less attention is paid to these foods. Out of sight, out of mind. As result, it is possible that a lack of public debate coulod cause people, especially the poor and uneducated, to consume more fatty fastfoods. The mindset might become "if no one is telling me it is bad, it must be good."


One solution might be more interactive new media coupled with exercise. I find televisions mounted on exercise machines to help with the ennui of repetitious physical exercise. It also boosts productivity: why watch Saturday business news on a couch when you can do so at the gym? I am still waiting for internet kiosks mounted to exercise machines (to enable blogging while exercising). iPod docking stations might also be very nifty.

What appeals to me might not appeal to youths, so more experiments and research on youths may be needed.

I find french fries somewhat addictive.


It's not just that people are no longer paid to expend calories, it's that we've designed whole neighborhoods, workplaces, etc., to be hostile to doing so. The last neighborhood we lived in was close to a bunch of stores, but had no sidewalks or crosswalks, so that it was basically unworkable to walk with my kids to these nearby stores. Around my office, getting more than a block or two away involves a bunch of walking alongside a busy road with no sidewalk, crossing streets with no signals for pedestrians to cross, etc. There's no reason for this but bad planning.


A lot of healthy stuff does not sell well, especially in large enough volume for companies driven by economies of scale. Consider coffee. People want coffee products made for them, and made with lots of chocolate and cream and other perks.


The intersection of virtual reality video games and exercise might be entertaining.

John Luik

The problem with the IOM claim is that it fails to meet Professor Heckman's criteria for a properly specified causal model which the direction of causality to be properly determined. The IOM authors conceed that the studies they reference did not measure advertising exposure, which on their account is the causal factor, but instead relied on television viewing as a proxy for advertising exposure. Thus we have studies making a fundamental claim about the supposed effects of advertising on children's food habits that have not in fact measured children's exposure to advertising but instead children's exposure to television. This makes the claim to a scientific report of a scientific conclusion a travesty.

Bill Churchill

It might be usefull to interview Nielsen and TIVO participants in order to gain the additional info needed to run the numbers on this and other related issues. A virtual goldmine of information exists as to the profile of exposure--what is needed is a harvest of the knowledge of the longitudinal effects of that exposure.

Bill Churchill

It might be usefull to interview Nielsen and TIVO participants in order to gain the additional info needed to run the numbers on this and other related issues. A virtual goldmine of information exists as to the profile of exposure--what is needed is a harvest of the knowledge of the longitudinal effects of that exposure.


There is no doubt that McDonald's and other companies tend to increase their revenues when they raise advertising budgets-otherwise, companies would not be spending as much on advertising.Actually, all that can be concluded is that the advertising executives at McDonald's decide on a level of advertising that leads to the greatest benefits for them personally.If shareholders knew for certain how advertising would affect McDonalds and fired executives who didn't do the right amount of advertising then it would be possible to conclude that McDonald's does the right amount of advertising.The reality is that the vast majority of shareholders have very little idea how much advertising McDonald's should do and very little influence of whether executives are fired so McDonald's advertising decisions reflect the personal preferences of the advertising executives.Saying that advertising executives at McDonald's decide on the right amount of advertising is like saying that dictators that secretly torture people decide on the right amount of torture. If people don't know what is going on and have no way to effect change then it can not be concluded that the right decisions are being made.


Aren't there stats that show the amount of money spent advertising all kinds of routine, mundane consumer things (food and other) dwarfs money spent on advertising policy debates and political campaigns?

When was the last time the U.S. filled a stadium to listen to some sort of a debate between two heavyweights on a very meaningful public policy issue or election?

Maybe this is a start?



First, am I the only one who sees the irony in publishing a report on TV watching causing obesity on a televised news program? At least they'd be reaching their intended audience, I suppose.

I would say that the advertising theory falls apart as Becker stated, and to add to that is simply the general trend away from physical activity in our society. As albatross mentioned, it's becoming more difficult to be physically active in our world because frankly it seems less efficient. Why would anyone want to walk to work? It takes more time that could be better spent actually working or catching up on sleep. There's little incentive to exercise aside from the health benefits, and when that's placed next to the cost in terms of time and discomfort (after all, as enjoyable as exercise is, to me it is still hard work) as well as the idea that there are numerous better 'quick-fix' solutions to being overweight, the maintenance routine of working out in order to avoid the need for those quick fixes loses the attention it deserves.

I'd also like to add that with as many different "programs" and "secrets" to losing weight already out there, people are probably so confused and possibly jaded on the subject that perhaps they just don't care anymore.


I thought farm subsidies were at least a small reason for obesity in this country. Food is so cheap and advertising is so expensive that a fast food place can have "word of mouth" advertising based on how huge their portions are.


Cramer on CNBC says Monsanto will address this situation. If I am not confused, Cramer says Monsanto has some sort of genetically modified seed for a bean that is healthier for consumers than historical beans.


A favorite topic of a group of us at the Los Gatos Roaster in Silicon Valley is obesity. There is nothing like a group of entrepreneurs to discuss it.

The economics of obesity are pathetically easily to understand.

In 1980, Coca Cola along with many other companies switched from refined sugar to corn syrup. Since them, nearly every product has corn syrup. Corn syrup is far more stable and less expensive that sugar.

Since that time, people have gotten more obese. Remarkably, obesity is a micro-economic problem not a macro-economic problem.

I suppose the key question is the utility curve of a donut. We have to ask ourselves, is a donut parato optimal compared to say a bike ride.

Eating a donut is much safer than riding a bike based on Kip Vinsici's research. The chances of being crushed by a car are much higher than choking on coconut.

Rather that refer back to the politics of blame, we have to appreciate peope's choices. As a Republican, I am for eating what ever you would like.

Unless, of course you keep Kosher which is the best single reason to become a vegetarian.


"Eating a donut is much safer than riding a bike based on Kip Vinsici's research. The chances of being crushed by a car are much higher than choking on coconut."

The dangers from riding a bicycle and eating a donut are not perfectly analogous. Danger from riding a bike may often be inflicted by behavior from people around the bike rider (e.g., car drivers unawares, lack of bike paths, etc). Danger from eating excessive donuts without exercise may be more self-inflicted. Also, transportation is often unavoidable, and riding a bike during transportation may improve productivity. Eating a donut, vs. selecting other forms of food, may not improve productivity to the same extent as choosing to commute via bicycle (and investing $ that would have been invested in an auto) vs. commuting in an Escalade.

The other thing to add on the Monsanto product is that, in addition to being healthier, it may taste the same or better as the unhealthy product.

Half Sigma

Sounds like a simple class issue to me. Upper class parents make their kids do other stuff besides watch TV.


I think you are absolutely right. There are lots of other important things to learn for them.

Arun Khanna

Obesity in the U.S. used to be discouraged by social norms in the marriage market. I conjecture that the increase of unskilled immigrants in the U.S. has undercut that social monitoring role since lower wage earning immigrants are more willing, on average, to marry obese Americans.


the link below takes you to the chicagoist blog.

there are many hidden costs to obesity.



مركز تحميل


thanks for your post.perhaps you will like abercrombie


بنت الزلفي



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