Importance of Natural Resources

Human Ecology Faculty in Focus: John Cawley

currently in the United States about
two-thirds of all Americans are clinically overweight and about a third
of all Americans are so far into that category they’re actually clinically
obese. people are hoping for some kind of magic bullet something
that they can just take and in a few seconds you know they can lose weight
ideally without changing their diet or their exercise and so that is this
market for over the counter weight loss drugs so what makes this market really
interesting is almost completely unregulated because over the counter
weight loss pills are regulated like a food item the problem is that these
pills basically don’t work and they can kill you. the area of health behaviors I
think is fascinating from the point of view of an economist is because although
most people want to hear the word economics or economists they think of interest rates or inflation or deficits these kind of aggregate numbers
that don’t seem to have much relevance for your everyday life but that’s really
a very misleading idea of what economics is all about because
economics is a social science it’s the study of how people behave and why
people make the decisions they do and I’m particularly interested in the
decisions people make regarding risky behaviors my name is John Cawley. I’m an economist
in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at the College of Human
Ecology at Cornell University and my research focus is the economics of
obesity and that covers both the economic causes of obesity like income
and advertising the economic consequences of obesity like wage
discrimination or job absenteeism and also treatments for obesity like the use
of financial rewards for weight loss

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