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Do They Know What Is At Risk? Health Risk Perception Among The Obese


  • Joachim Winter
  • Amelie Wuppermann


ABSTRACT The perception of health risks and risky health behaviors are closely associated. In this paper, we investigate the accuracy of health risk perceptions among obese individuals, aged 50–62 years. We compare subjective risk perceptions for various diseases elicited in the American Life Panel to individual's objective risks of the same diseases. We find that obese individuals significantly underestimate their 5‐year risks of arthritis or rheumatism and hypertension, whereas they systematically overestimate their 5‐year risks of a heart attack and a stroke. Obese individuals are thus aware of some but not all obesity‐related health risks. For given diseases, we document substantial heterogeneities in the accuracy of expectations across individuals. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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  • Joachim Winter & Amelie Wuppermann, 2014. "Do They Know What Is At Risk? Health Risk Perception Among The Obese," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(5), pages 564-585, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:23:y:2014:i:5:p:564-585

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    Cited by:

    1. Grevenbrock, Nils & Groneck, Max & Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2015. "Biased Survival Beliefs, Psychological and Cognitive Explanations, and the Demand for Life Insurances," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113203, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations


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