Forget Inactive Lifestyles. Extremely Cheap Food Is Causing Obesity.

In the 1930s, we spent one quarter of disposable income on feeding ourselves. In the 1950s, it was about one-fifth. Now, it's about a tenth.

What's the Latest?


Unlike past studies which have concentrated on regional obesity differences--why are Mississippians heavier than Coloradans, for example?--a new study focuses on what has motivated an increasing Body Mass Index (BMI) across all geographical regions of the US. "The striking finding is the similarity of increases in BMI across groups," say the study's authors. "Targeting selected sociodemographic groups might help to reduce disparities, a laudable goal itself, but it would seem very unlikely to address the much bigger effects that have occurred over time."

What's the Big Idea?

The new study, whose authors hail from the Rand Corporation and the University of Illinois, tracks rising BMIs alongside the decline in food prices that began in the 1930s, when Americans spent one quarter of their income on food. In the 1950s, it was about one-fifth. Now, it's about a tenth. "The obesity epidemic has been fueled by historically low food prices relative to income," the paper says. "Americans are spending a smaller share of their income (or corresponding amount of effort) on food than any other society in history or anywhere else in the world, yet get more for it."

Read more at Fast Company

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Trusting your instincts is lazy: Poker pro Liv Boeree on Big Think Edge

International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to make decisions with the clarity of a World Series Poker Champion.
  • Liv Boeree teaches analytical thinking for Big Think Edge.
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Here's when machines will take your job, as predicted by A.I. gurus

An MIT study predicts when artificial intelligence will take over for humans in different occupations.

Photo credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / AFP / Getty Images
Surprising Science

While technology develops at exponential speed, transforming how we go about our everyday tasks and extending our lives, it also offers much to worry about. In particular, many top minds think that automation will cost humans their employment, with up to 47% of all jobs gone in the next 25 years. And chances are, this number could be even higher and the massive job loss will come earlier.

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Our egotism and self-confidence can sometimes spill-over to our loved ones.

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