Publication Date

January 2000

Publication Details

Levy, A, Rational Non-addictive Eating: Cycles, Overweightness, and Underweightness, Working Paper 00-07, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2000.


Although a deviation from the physiologically optimal weight increases the probability of dying, the steady state for a lifetime expected-utility maximiser is a state of overweightness. However, even a small initial deviation from this rationally stationary weight is followed by explosive oscillations. These oscillations might lead to severe and chronic underweightness in a late stage of life. In the presence of socio-cultural norms of appearance, the rationally stationary weight of fat people is lower than otherwise and the rationally stationary weight of lean people is greater than otherwise. (JEL I12)