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The Income Gradient and Distribution-Sensitive Measures of Overweight in the U.S

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  • Jolliffe, Dean

Abstract

This paper considers alternate measures of overweight in the U.S. that are sensitive to changes in the body-mass index (BMI) distribution, more robust to measurement error and continuous in the body-mass index (BMI) at the overweight threshold. The measures suggest that standard prevalence rates may be understating the severity of the problem. Since 1971, overweight prevalence has increased by 40% while the distribution-sensitive measure has increased by 174%. They also provide some useful insight into socioeconomic differences in overweight. For example, overweight prevalence rates for the poor and the rich have been very similar over the last 30 years, with the rich have a slightly higher rate in the most recent 2001- 2002 data. In contrast, the distribution sensitive measures reveal that overweight rich people exceed the overweight threshold by 23% while the overweight poor exceed the threshold by a much greater amount (31%) on average.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/25677
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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 25677.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25677

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Keywords: Health Economics and Policy;

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  1. Dean Jolliffe, 2004. "Continuous and robust measures of the overweight epidemic: 1971–2000," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 303-314, May.
  2. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
  3. Howes, Stephen & Lanjouw, Jean Olson, 1998. "Does Sample Design Matter for Poverty Rate Comparisons?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(1), pages 99-109, March.
  4. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and policy," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2551-2657 Elsevier.
  5. Dean Jolliffe & Anastassia Semykina, 2000. "Robust standard errors for the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke class of poverty indices," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(51).
  6. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
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