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Am J Prev Med. 2004 Oct;27(3 Suppl):117-25.

An economic framework for understanding physical activity and eating behaviors.

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  • 1Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


This paper offers an economic framework of human behavior with respect to physical activity and nutrition. Economics offers useful insights into these behaviors because it is the study of how people allocate their scarce resources of time and money to maximize their lifetime happiness. This paper outlines the criteria for policy interventions from an economic perspective and also considers arguments for policy intervention that are not based on economic considerations. The implications of the economic framework are summarized and its limitations are described.

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