Gluttony and Sloth? Calories, Labor Market Activity and the Rise of Obesity

Rachel Griffith, Rodrigo Lluberas, Melanie Luhrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rise in obesity has largely been attributed to an increase in calorie consumption. We show that official government household survey data indicate that calories have declined in England between 1980 and 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 the decline in calories can be partially, but not entirely, rationalised with weight gain by a decline in the strenuousness of work and daily life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1253–1286
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of the European Economic Association
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2016

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