A recent study by Charles Courtemanche of Washington University in St. Louis looks at the relationship of gas prices and obesity. He found that in the years where gas prices were stable or declining in real dollars (graph right) the obesity rate climbed constantly. He concludes:
He calls his study, appropriately: A Silver Lining? The Connection Between Gasoline Prices and Obesity via ::Paul Kedrosky
$1 in real gasoline prices would reduce obesity in the U.S. by 15% after five years, and that 13% of the rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling real gas prices during this period. I also provide evidence that the effect occurs both by increasing exercise and by lowering the frequency with which people eat at restaurants.