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The Economics of Obesity-Related Mortality among High Income Countries

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Author Info

  • Huffman, Wallace E.
  • Huffman, Sonya Kostova
  • Tegene, Abebayehu
  • Rickertsen, Kyrre

Abstract

The high and rapidly rising adult obesity rates in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are associated with major health risks, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer; large health care costs; and premature deaths annually. For example, the death rate from diabetes mellitus has been rising in the U.S. In contrast, death rates from circulator diseases have a strong negative trend, but rising obesity rates almost certainly have slowed this trend. This paper focuses on obesity-related mortality from diabetes and circulatory diseases and establishes the econometric underpinning of an aggregate household health production function and an aggregate household health supply function using data for 15 high income countries, 1971-2001. Our health production function estimates show that mortality is related with a lag to diet, health care, organization of the health care system, and knowledge and technical change. Our aggregate household supply function shows that lower food prices increase and socialized medicine at a modest level decreases mortality with a lag, other things equal, including medical and dietary information and medical technology. From a policy perspective, cheap, unhealthy food is bad for human health and socialized medicine at some level is good for health.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia with number 25567.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25567

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Keywords: health; over nutrition; obesity; obesity-related mortality; high income countries; economic factors; household models; food prices; Health Economics and Policy;

References

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  1. Fred Kuchler & Abebayehu Tegene & J. Michael Harris, 2005. "Taxing Snack Foods: Manipulating Diet Quality or Financing Information Programs?," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 4-20.
  2. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Loureiro, Maria L. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr., 2005. "Obesity Rates in OECD Countries: An International Perspective," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24454, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  5. Mark R. Rosenzweig & T. Paul Schultz, 1982. "The Behavior of Mothers as Inputs to Child Health: The Determinants of Birth Weight, Gestation, and Rate of Fetal Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 53-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Huffman, Sonya K. & Rizov, Marian, 2007. "Determinants of Obesity in Transition Economies: The Case of Russia," Staff General Research Papers 12830, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Miller, J. Corey & Coble, Keith H., 2008. "An International Comparison of the Effects of Government Agricultural Support on Food Budget Shares," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 40(02), August.
  3. Chen, Yanni & Huffman, Wallace E., 2009. "An Economic Analysis of the Impact of Food Prices and Other Factors on Adult Lifestyles: Choices of Physical Activity and Healthy Weight," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49291, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  4. Herzfeld, Thomas & Huffman, Sonya K. & Rizov, Marian, 2009. "The Dynamics of the Russian Lifestyle During Transition: Changes in Food, Alcohol and Cigarette Consumption," Staff General Research Papers 13116, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Herzfeld, Thomas & Huffman, Sonya Kostova & Oskam, Arie J. & Rizov, Marian, 2009. "Changes in Food, Alcohol and Cigarettes Consumption during Transition: Evidence from Russia," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49239, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  6. Huffman, Sonya K., 2013. "BMI Changes in Russian Adults: The Role of Health Related Behaviors and Spousal Relationships," Staff General Research Papers 35987, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

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