|Date:||24 June 2016|
|Authors:||Rachel Griffith , Melanie Lührmann and Rodrigo Lluberas|
|Published in:||Journal of the European Economic Association , forthcoming|
|JEL classification:||JEL: D12, I12, I18|
The rise in obesity has largely been attributed to an increase in calorie consumption. We show that official government household survey data indicate that calories have declined in England between 1980 and 2013; while there has been an increase in calories from food out at restaurants, fast food, soft drinks and confectionery, overall there has been a decrease in total calories purchased. Households have shifted towards more expensive calories, both by substituting away from home production towards market production, and substituting towards higher quality foods. We show that the decline in calories can be partially, but not entirely, rationalised with weight gain by a decline in the strenuousness of work and daily life.