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Decomposing body mass index gaps between Mediterranean countries: A counterfactual quantile regression analysis

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  • Costa-Font, Joan
  • Fabbri, Daniele
  • Gil, Joan

Abstract

Wide cross-country variation in obesity rates has been reported between European Union member states. Although the existing cross-country differences have not been analyzed in depth, they contain important information on health production determinants. In this paper we apply a methodology for conducting standardized cross-country comparisons of body mass index (BMI). We draw on estimations of the marginal density function of BMI for Italy and Spain in 2003, two countries with similar GDP and socio-economic conditions. We produce different counterfactual distribution estimates using covariates (health production inputs) specified in a quantile regression. Our findings suggest that Spain-to-Italy BMI gaps among females are largely explained by cross-country variation in the returns to each covariate, especially for younger women. We find that adverse underlying determinants do not explain the gap observed in particular between younger Spanish females and their Italian counterfactuals; behavioural differences appear to be the key. We tentatively conclude that Spanish policy on obesity should target mainly younger females.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 351-365

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:3:p:351-365

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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Keywords: BMI Country weight gap Quantile regression Counterfactual decomposition Mediterranean countries Italy Spain;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Lundborg, Petter & Lyttkens, Carl Hampus & Nystedt, Paul, 2012. "Do Socioeconomic Factors Really Explain Income-Related Inequalities in Health? Applying a Twin Design to Standard Decomposition Analysis," Working Papers 2012:21, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  2. Luca Pieroni & Donatella Lanari & Luca Salmasi, 2010. "Food Prices and Overweight Patterns in Italy," EERI Research Paper Series EERI_RP_2010_40, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  3. Costa-Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Jiménez-Rubio, Dolores, 2014. "Income inequalities in unhealthy life styles in England and Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 66-75.
  4. Dodd, Mark C., 2014. "Intertemporal discounting as a risk factor for high BMI: Evidence from Australia, 2008," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 83-97.
  5. Pieroni, Luca & Salmasi, Luca, 2010. "Body weight and socio-economic determinants: quantile estimations from the British Household Panel Survey," MPRA Paper 26434, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Etile, Fabrice, 2014. "Education policies and health inequalities: Evidence from changes in the distribution of Body Mass Index in France, 1981–2003," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 46-65.

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