Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version




Many of us have long-term goals to maintain or achieve a healthy body weight. However, most of us have a hard time following through on these plans. Maintaining a healthy body weight requires constant consideration of the future consequences of our current actions, which are shaped by our immediate desires, such as eating the tasty-looking brownie at the coffee shop or relaxing after a long day of work instead of forcing ourselves to go to the gym. The difficulty in balancing short-term and long-term goals is reflected in the change in the average American body type over the past five decades. Since the 1960s, the percentage of Americans who are overweight or obese has increased markedly. Currently, around 70 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.