Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


Document Number

Research Paper #2006-13


A spatial panel data analysis at the county level examines how individual food consumption, recreational, and lifestyle choices ― against a backdrop of changing demographic, built environment, and policy factors ― leads to obesity. Results suggest that obesity tends to be spatially autocorrelated; in addition to hereditary factors and lifestyle choices, it is also caused by sprawl and lack of land use planning. Policy measures which stimulate educational attainment, poverty alleviation, and promotion of better land use planning and best consumption practices (BCPs) could both reduce obesity and result in sustainable development of regions where obesity is prevalent and the economy is lagging.