The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity

ISBN : 9780199359974

John Cawley
912 Pages
174 x 247 mm
Pub date
Feb 2014
Oxford Handbooks in Economics
Send mail

There is an urgent need to better understand the causes and consequences of obesity, and to learn what works to prevent or reduce obesity. This volume accurately and conveniently summarizes the findings and insights of obesity-related research from the full range of social sciences including anthropology, economics, government, psychology, and sociology. It is an excellent resource for researchers in these areas, both bringing them up to date on the relevant research in their own discipline and allowing them to quickly and easily understand the cutting-edge research being produced in other disciplines. The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity is a critical reference for obesity researchers and is also valuable for public health officials, policymakers, nutritionists, and medical practitioners. The first section of the book explains how each social science discipline models human behavior (in particular, diet and physical activity), and summarizes the major research literatures on obesity in that discipline. The second section provides important practical information for researchers, including a guide to publicly available social science data on obesity and an overview of the challenges to causal inference in obesity research. The third part of the book synthesizes social science research on specific causes and correlates of obesity, such as food advertising, food prices, and peers. The fourth section summarizes social science research on the consequences of obesity, such as lower wages, job absenteeism, and discrimination. The fifth and final section reviews the social science literature on obesity treatment and prevention, such as food taxes, school-based interventions, and medical treatments such as anti-obesity drugs and bariatric surgery.


1. Introduction: John Cawley of Cornell University
Part 1: Disciplinary Perspectives on Obesity:
2. The Epidemiology of Obesity: Aviva Must and E. Whitney Evans of Tufts University
3. The Demography of Obesity: Christine L. Himes of Syracuse University
4. The Cliometrics of BMI and Obesity: Scott Alan Carson of University of Texas - Permian Basin
5. The Anthropology of Obesity: Amanda L. Thompson and Penny Gordon-Larsen of University of North Carolina
6. The Psychology of Obesity: Ashley Moskovich of Duke University, Jeff Hunger of California State University at Fullerton, and Traci Mann of University of Minnesota.
7. The Sociology of Obesity: Jeffrey Sobal of Cornell University
8. The Economics of Obesity: John Cawley of Cornell University
9. Behavioral Economics and Obesity: Julie S. Downs and George Lowenstein of Carnegie-Mellon University
10. Obesity Politics and Policy: Rogan Kersh of New York University and James Morone of Brown University
11. Fat Studies: Esther D. Rothblum of San Diego State University
Part 2: Data and Methods
12. Publicly-Available Data Useful for Social Science Research on Obesity: Inas Rashad Kelly of Queens College, City University of New York
13. The Complex Systems Science of Obesity: Diane T. Finegood of Simon Fraser University
14. Challenges for Causal Inference in Obesity Research: M. Christopher Auld of University of Calgary and Paul Grootendorst of University of Toronto
Part 3: The Causes and Correlates of Diet, Physical Activity, and Obesity
15. Race, Ethnicity and Obesity: Renee Walker and Ichiro Kawachi of Harvard University
16. Socioeconomic Status and Obesity: Lindsay McLaren of University of Calgary
17. The Nutrition Transition and Obesity: Barry M. Popkin of University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
18. Peer Effects and Obesity: Jason M. Fletcher of Yale University
19. Maternal Employment: Patricia M. Anderson of Dartmouth College
20. Depression and Obesity: Ellen Granberg of Clemson University
21. Food Marketing, Television and Video Games: Elizabeth A. Vandewater of Research Triangle Institute and Ellen A. Wartella of Northwestern University
22. Portion Size and the Obesity Epidemic: Tanja V.E. Kral of University of Pennsylvania and Barbara J. Rolls of Pennsylvania State University
23. Mindless Eating: Brian Wansink of Cornell University
24. Food Assistance and Obesity: Michele Ver Ploeg of U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
25. Physical Activity and the Built Environment: James F. Sallis, Marc A. Adams, and Ding Ding of San Diego State University
26. Food Deserts: Dianna Smith and Steven Cummins of University of London
27. Food Prices, Income and Body Weight: Darius Lakdawalla of University of Southern California and Yuhui Zheng of the National Bureau of Economic Research
28. Agricultural Policy and Childhood Obesity: John Cawley of Cornell University and Barrett Kirwan of University of Maryland
Part 4: The Consequences of Obesity
29. Obesity and Medical Costs: Eric Finkelstein and Hae Kyung Yang of Duke University / National University of Singapore
30. Obesity and Mortality: Neil K. Mehta of University of Michigan and Virginia W. Chang of University of Pennsylvania
31. Schooling and Human Capital: Khoa Truong of Clemson University and Roland Sturm of RAND
32. Labor Market Consequences: Employment, Wages, Disability, and Absenteeism: Susan L. Averett of Lafayette College
33. Bias, Stigma and Discrimination: Rebecca M. Puhl of Yale University
34. Medical and Social Scientific Debates over Body Weight: Abigail C. Saguy of University of California - Los Angeles and Paul Campos of University of Colorado
Part 5: Social Science Insights into Prevention, Treatment, and Policy
35. The Imperative of Changing Public Policy To Address Obesity: Christina A. Roberto and Kelly D. Brownell of Yale
36. Economic Perspectives on Obesity Policy: Tomas J. Philipson and Richard A. Posner of University of Chicago
37. Lessons for Obesity Policy from the Tobacco Wars: Frank J. Chaloupka of University of Illinois at Chicago.
38. Food Taxes and Subsidies: Evidence and Policies for Obesity Prevention: Lisa M. Powell and Jamie F. Chriqui of University of Illinois at Chicago
39. School-Based Interventions: Tamara Brown of Liverpool University.
40. Workplace Obesity Prevention Programs: Ron Z. Goetzel of Emory University, Niranjana Kowlessar of Thomson Reuters, Enid Chung Roemer of Emory University, Xiaofei Pei, of Thomson Reuters, Maryam Tabrizi of Thomson Reuters, Rivka C. Liss-Levinson of Emory University, Daniel Samoly of Emory University and Jessica Waddell of Thomson Reuters.
41. Community Interventions: Christina D. Economos and Sarah A. Sliwa of Tufts University
42. Regulation of Food Advertising: Pauline M. Ippolito of Federal Trade Commission
43. Unintended Consequences of Obesity Prevention Messages: Sahara Byrne and Jeff Niederdeppe of Cornell University
44. Behavioral Treatment of Obesity: LaShanda Jones-Corneille, Rebecca M. Stack and Thomas Wadden of University of Pennsylvania
45. Anti-Obesity Drugs and Bariatric Surgery: William Encinosa of Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Dongyi Tony Du of the Food and Drug Administration, and Didem Bernard of Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
46. Correlates of Successful Maintenance of Weight Loss: Victoria Catenacci, Paul MacLean, Lorri Ogden, Sarit Polsky, Holly Wyatt, and James Hill of University of Colorado
47. Cost Effectiveness of Anti-Obesity Interventions: Social Science Insights Into Treatment, Prevention, and Policymaking: Larissa Roux of University of British Columbia

About the author: 

John Cawley is a professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. His primary field of research is health economics, with a focus on the economic causes of obesity, the economic consequences of obesity, and economic approaches to obesity treatment and prevention. He has served on expert panels and advisory committees regarding obesity for the Institute of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other government agencies. In addition to his affiliation with Cornell, John is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in the Programs on Health Economics and Health Care, and he is a co-editor of the journal Economics & Human Biology. More information about the editor is available at www.johncawley.com.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.