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The U.S. Obesity Epidemic:New Evidence from the Economic Security Index

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Author Info

  • Smith, Trenton G.
  • Stillman, Steven
  • Craig, Stuart

Abstract

A growing body of research supports the \economic insecurity" theory of obesity, which posits that uncertainty with respect to one's material well- being may be an important root cause of the modern obesity epidemic. This literature has been limited in the past by a lack of reliable measures of economic insecurity. In this paper we use the newly developed Economic Security Index to explain changes in U.S. adult obesity rates as measured by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 1988{2010, a period capturing much of the recent rapid rise in obesity. We nd a robust positive and statistically signi cant relationship between obesity and economic insecurity that holds for nearly every age, gender, and race/ethnicity group in our data, both in cross-section and over time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. with number 151419.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:151419

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Related research

Keywords: obesity; body mass index; economic insecurity; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods;

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  1. Smith Trenton G. & Stoddard Christiana & Barnes Michael G, 2009. "Why the Poor Get Fat: Weight Gain and Economic Insecurity," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-31, June.
  2. Offer, Avner & Pechey, Rachel & Ulijaszek, Stanley, 2010. "Obesity under affluence varies by welfare regimes: The effect of fast food, insecurity, and inequality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 297-308, December.
  3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  4. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Trenton G. Smith, 2012. "Obesity and the Economics of Prevention: Fit Not Fat," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(3), pages 815-817.
  6. Trenton Smith, 2009. "Reconciling psychology with economics: Obesity, behavioral biology, and rational overeating," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 249-282, December.
  7. Hacker, Jacob S. & Huber, Gregory Alain & Nichols, Austin & Rehm, Philipp & Schlesinger, Mark & Valletta, Robert G. & Craig, Stuart, 2012. "The Economic Security Index: A New Measure for Research and Policy Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 6946, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," IZA Discussion Papers 711, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Jon D. Wisman & Kevin W. Capehart, 2010. "Insecurity, Stress, and Epidemic Obesity," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 936-982, 07.
  10. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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