Chapter

Body Weight and Self-Control

Avner Offer

in The Challenge of Affluence

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216628
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696015 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216628.003.0007

Series: The Challenge of Affluence

Body Weight and Self-Control

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This chapter discusses eating, and presents a straightforward conflict between the satisfaction of appetites and the consequences for physical appearance and health. Food abundance has made a mockery of the rational consumer. Body weight has risen in defiance of health and appearance norms. Cheap pre-processed food in supermarkets and sidewalk outlets has driven an excess of both overeating and slimming. For men, the rise in body weight has been associated with the decline of family eating and exposure to greater variety. For women, the ‘cult of slimming’ was associated with mating competition. The costs of abundance fell more heavily on the poor, for whom the benefits of cheaper food were offset by the rising cost of self-control. Affluence has tipped the balance away from self-control, towards rising obesity.

Keywords: body weight; obesity; food; self-control; eating

Chapter.  13423 words.  Illustrated.

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