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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.
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.