Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I should eat out less 

An economic study says more restaurants around you put more pounds around your middle.

They note that technological change has reduced the amount of physical effort that people expend in their jobs, and that "the ready availability of inexpensive restaurants has not only caused people to consume more, but has made them less active - less likely to prepare food at home or travel further distances to obtain a healthy meal." The cigarette tax and smoking prohibition laws are included to account for the possibility that the increase in U.S. BMI may be related to the success of public health efforts to decrease smoking. When people quit smoking they often gain weight.

... As the number of restaurants per capita increases so does BMI. The average BMI will rise by 0.09 percent if the per capita number of restaurants increases by one percent. The authors note that the rapid increase in obesity in the 1980s is partly an "unintended consequence of the campaign to reduce smoking." On balance, however, they conclude that "the increase in the per capita number of restaurants makes the largest contribution to the BMI outcome, accounting for 54 percent of the growth" in a pooled sample of men and women.

I remember my father-in-law saying the key to his keeping weight off was the fact his wife couldn't cook. In my case, Mrs. S is an excellent cook yet I am not home enough to enjoy. Maybe I should take up smoking...