Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors
Economics, obesity, pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global health and economic crisis with some unforeseen consequences such as the rise in obesity. This thesis will provide a quantitative assessment of the effect of the pandemic on food consumption and body weight in the United States. I will extend the Ramsey (1928) Cass (1965) Koopmans (1965) economic growth model to include the Schofield (1985) equation which connects food consumption and body weight over time. I present theoretical results and run simulations of the model to describe the evolution of food consumption and body weight in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the short and long term. As a result of a decrease in the rate of time preference, an increase in calories per unit of food consumption, and an increase in the portion of consumption spent on food, I find that two years into the transition, body weight decreases by 28.47 percent, 34.53 percent, and 11.92 percent, respectively, and after the complete transition into a new steady state, body weight increases by 22.53 percent, 14.47 percent, and 37.6 percent, respectively. However, following an increase in risk aversion, body weight increases by 3.52 percent two years into the transition, 5.36 percent five years into the transition, and is unchanged in the steady state. These results provide a base for public policy recommendations.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Williams, Lindsay, "The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Body Weight in the U.S.A." (2022). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 507.