The behavioural economics of exercise habits
Jeremy D Goldhaber-Fiebert, Alan M Garber 22 February 2011
Obesity – and its related illnesses – endangers the lives of millions across the world. While healthier, more physically active lifestyles can mitigate this, the question remains of how policymakers can get people to switch from being couch potatoes to keen runner beans. This column presents new evidence suggesting that for many even a nudge may suffice.
In the US, obesity – and the chronic diseases it can cause – is putting health policy under enormous strain (Flegal et al. 2010). One recent study finds that between 1993 and 2008 obesity was a greater threat to the health of Americans than smoking (Jia and Lubetkin 2010). But it is not just the US. The rise in hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease may have been most pronounced in the developed world, but many rapidly developing countries including India and China are now following this disturbing trend (Sugerman et al. 2003 and Mathers et al. 2006).
Frontiers of economic research Health economics
health, Behavioural economics, sport, exercise habits