Darius Lakdawalla on the Economics of Obesity
Sep 25 2006

Russ Roberts talks with Darius Lakdawalla of Rand and the National Bureau of Economic Research on the economics of obesity, how much fatter are Americans and why. How much is due to the spread of fast food vs. the falling price of food and the change in the U.S. workplace?

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Explore audio transcript, further reading that will help you delve deeper into this week’s episode, and vigorous conversations in the form of our comments section below.


Sep 26 2006 at 2:50am

Another problem with the BMI is that it only measures people’s mass against one dimension. People are not beanstalks, though. They grow sideways and forwards and back. In other words, people have not only been getting taller, but they’re getting more muscular. Since muscle mass is more dense than fat mass, it’s not uncommon for people – particularly men – who are fit and in shape to blow the curve on the population’s average BMI.

As an example, according to this: the average BMI on the Texas Rangers is 27.8, which makes them all well overweight.

Obviously, the Texas Rangers is not a perfect sample (but then, they also skew baseball players for height as much as weight – not everyone is a slugger). But it could be worse: see the Dodgers.

Now that I think of it, women are probably also blowing the BMI. Back in the day, there were a lot less women with the sort of fit, strong bodies that we have today.

Sep 28 2006 at 4:22am

Why comments are light gray on white? Could you make it more readable? Thank you very much!


Lauren Landsburg
Sep 30 2006 at 7:25am

Hi, Quine. You asked:

Why are comments light gray on white?

Many blogs use some kind of visual cue such as a color differential to distinguish comments from the author’s writing. On EconTalk that’s probably not necessary because our commenters have been very thoughtful! I’ve reset the comment color from gray to black.

Thanks for your help!

–Econlib Editor

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