EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Native American Obesity: An Economic Model of the "Thrifty Gene" Theory

Timothy Richards and Paul M. Patterson

No 28544, Working Papers from Arizona State University, Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management

Abstract: Native American obesity and the associated health conditions are generally thought to result in part from a genetic predisposition to overeating fats and carbohydrates, called the "thrifty gene." Although coined by nutritional scientists, this study maintains the origin of the thrifty gene lies in economics. Apparently harmful overconsumption and addiction constitute economically rational behavior if the increment to current utility from adding to one's stock of "consumption capital" is greater than the present value of utility lost in the future due to ill health and the costs of withdrawal. Tests of these conditions for such "rational addiction" are conducted using two-stage household production approach. The results obtained by estimating this model in a panel of Native and non-Native supermarket scanner data show that both Natives and non-Natives tend to be inherently forward-looking in their nutrient choices, but Natives tend to have far higher long-run demand elasticities for carbohydrates compared to non-Natives. Consequently, reductions in real food prices over time, primarily among foods that are dense in simple carbohydrates, leads Native Americans to over-consume potentially harmful nutrients relative to their traditional diet.

Keywords: Type II diabetes; household production; Native Americans; demand estimation; shadow values.; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://purl.umn.edu/28544 (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: NATIVE AMERICAN OBESITY: AN ECONOMIC MODEL OF THE THRIFTY GENE THEORY (2004) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ags:asumwp:28544

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers from Arizona State University, Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management Contact information at EDIRC.
Series data maintained by AgEcon Search ().

 
Page updated 2017-09-29
Handle: RePEc:ags:asumwp:28544