Continuing the Conversation Webinar, November 17, 2010

Topic: The Economics of Obesity

Speaker: Fred Zimmerman, PhD
Professor and Wasserman Chair, Health Policy & Management
UCLA Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health

The large increase in obesity in the past 30 years has often been explained in rational choice terms, for example, that a decline in food prices has engendered greater food consumption, or that the changing work environment has inhibited physical activity on the job. On closer examination, these explanations do not fit the facts. Dr. Zimmerman will discuss how an unprecedented expansion in the scope, power, and ubiquity of food marketing has vastly altered the culture of food and eating, and it is this cultural change that has led to our current obesity pandemic.

Fred Zimmerman holds a PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin. His research studies economic influences on population health, with a particular focus on media use and child health and has caught the attention of the popular press, including NPR, the BBC, Good Morning America, the Today Show, The New York Times, and many other media outlets.

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