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Regional obesity determinants in the United States: a model of myopic addictive behavior in food consumption


  • Dragan Miljkovic,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, North Dakota State University, P.O. Box 5636, Fargo, ND 58105-5636, USA
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  • William Nganje

    1. The Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness, Arizona State University, 7001 E. Williams Field Road, MC 0180, Mesa, AZ 85212, USA
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*Corresponding author. Tel.: 701-231-9519; fax: 701-231-7400.E-mail (D. Miljkovic).


Obesity is considered one of the largest public health problems in the United States today. The premise for our study is a body of results from medical research showing that sweetened foods, i.e., an increased consumption of sugars, leads first to sugar addiction and second to carbohydrate addiction and increased consumption of fats. The latter feature is actually responsible for the increase in body mass index (BMI), but the trigger that produces cravings for extra calories is sugar and sweeteners. Based on our results, a myopic model of addictive behavior in food consumption seems to capture the food consuming habits and related outbreak of obesity among the American population. Our results indicate that lower current and past real prices of sugar contribute significantly to higher values of BMI, and increase the likelihood of becoming obese in the United States.