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Expanding wallets and waistlines: the impact of family income on the BMI of women and men eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit

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  • Maximilian D. Schmeiser

    (Department of Consumer Science and Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA)

Abstract

The rising rate of obesity has reached epidemic proportions and is now one of the most serious public health challenges facing the US. However, the underlying causes for this increase are unclear. This paper examines the effect of family income changes on body mass index (BMI) and obesity using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort. It does so by using exogenous variation in family income in a sample of low-income women and men. This exogenous variation is obtained from the correlation of their family income with the generosity of state and federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program benefits. Income is found to significantly raise the BMI and probability of being obese for women with EITC-eligible earnings, and have no appreciable effect for men with EITC-eligible earnings. The results imply that the increase in real family income from 1990 to 2002 explains between 10 and 21% of the increase in sample women's BMI and between 23 and 29% of their increased obesity prevalence. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1430
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
Issue (Month): 11 ()
Pages: 1277-1294

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:18:y:2009:i:11:p:1277-1294

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Working Paper Series WP-02-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Cutler, David & Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
  5. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
  6. Richard Burkhauser & John Cawley, 2006. "The Importance of Objective Health Measures in Predicting Early Receipt of Social Security Benefits: The Case of Fatness," Working Papers wp148, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  7. V. Joseph Hotz & John Karl Scholz, 2001. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 8078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  9. Kamhon KAN & Wei-Der TSAI, 2004. "Obesity and Risk Knowledge," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 04-A002, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
  10. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
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Cited by:
  1. John Cawley & John Moran & Kosali Simon, 2010. "The impact of income on the weight of elderly Americans," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 979-993, August.
  2. Johnston, D.W.; & Lordan, G.;, 2012. "My body is fat and my wallet is thin: The link between weight perceptions, weight control and income," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Gomis-Porqueras, Pedro & Mitnik, Oscar A. & Peralta-Alva, Adrian & Schmeiser, Maximilian D., 2011. "The Effects of Female Labor Force Participation on Obesity," IZA Discussion Papers 6071, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Averett, Susan L. & Wang, Yang, 2012. "The Effects of EITC Payment Expansion on Maternal Smoking," IZA Discussion Papers 6680, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2009. "Fatter Attraction: Marital Status and the Relationship between BMI and Labor Supply," Working Papers 2009.116, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Zhuo Chen & Qi Zhang, 2011. "Nutrigenomics Hypothesis: Examining the Association Between Food Stamp Program Participation and Bodyweight Among Low-Income Women," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 508-520, September.
  8. Godard, Mathilde, 2013. "Gaining weight through retirement ? Results from the SHARE survey," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/11535, Paris Dauphine University.
  9. Courtemanche, Charles & Pinkston, Joshua C. & Stewart, Jay, 2014. "Adjusting Body Mass for Measurement Error with Invalid Validation Data," IZA Discussion Papers 8009, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. PAN, Jay & QIN, Xuezheng & LIU, Gordon G., 2013. "The impact of body size on urban employment: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 249-263.
  11. Maclean, Johanna Catherine, 2013. "The health effects of leaving school in a bad economy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 951-964.
  12. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11012 is not listed on IDEAS

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