Candy at the Cash Register—A Risk Factor for Obesity and Chronic Disease


(New England Journal of Medicine)

a woman at a grocery store checkout

by Deborah A. Cohen and Susan H. Babey

October 11, 2012

A basic misconception has stymied our response to the obesity epidemic: the belief that food-related decisions are consciously and deliberately made. Our reluctance to interfere with or regulate the food environment is a direct consequence of the belief that people's food choices reflect their true desires. However, given the large proportion of people who claim that they want to lose weight and the small proportion who are actually able to do so, we must concede that human behavior doesn't always conform with professed goals....

The remainder of this op-ed can be found at

This commentary originally appeared in New England Journal of Medicine on October 11, 2012. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.