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Do they Know what's at Risk? Health Risk Perception among the Obese

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  • Joachim Winter
  • Amelie C. Wuppermann

Abstract

The perception of disease risks and risky health behaviors are closely associated. In this paper, we investigate the accuracy of disease risk perceptions among obese individuals. We compare subjective risk perceptions for various diseases elicited in the American Life Panel (ALP) to individual’s objective risks of the same diseases. We find that obese individuals significantly underestimate their 5-year risks of diabetes, arthritis or rheumatism, and hypertension, while 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 risks. For given diseases, we document substantial heterogeneities in the accuracy of expectations across individuals.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3864.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3864

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Keywords: obesity; health risk; subjective expectations;

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  1. Michael Hurd & Maarten Van Rooij & Joachim Winter, 2011. "Stock market expectations of Dutch households," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 416-436, 04.
  2. Cawley, John & Meyerhoefer, Chad, 2012. "The medical care costs of obesity: An instrumental variables approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 219-230.
  3. Kan, Kamhon & Tsai, Wei-Der, 2004. "Obesity and risk knowledge," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 907-934, September.
  4. Wändi Bruine de Bruin & Andrew Parker & Jürgen Maurer, 2011. "Assessing small non-zero perceptions of chance: The case of H1N1 (swine) flu risks," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 145-159, April.
  5. Aureo de Paula & Gil Shapira & Petra E. Todd, 2010. "How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi, Sixth Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-005, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 21 Feb 2011.
  6. John Cawley & Christopher Ruhm, 2011. "The Economics of Risky Health Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 17081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Khwaja, Ahmed & Silverman, Dan & Sloan, Frank & Wang, Yang, 2009. "Are mature smokers misinformed?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 385-397, March.
  8. Manski, Charles F. & Molinari, Francesca, 2010. "Rounding Probabilistic Expectations in Surveys," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(2), pages 219-231.
  9. Goldman, Dana & Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Lakdawalla, Darius & Zheng, Yuhui & Gailey, Adam & Vaynman, Igor, 2010. "The Fiscal Consequences Of Trends In Population Health," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 63(2), pages 307-30, June.
  10. Michael D. Hurd, 2009. "Subjective Probabilities in Household Surveys," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 543-564, 05.
  11. Couper, Mick P. & Kapteyn, Arie & Schonlau, Matthias & Winter, Joachim, 2007. "Noncoverage and nonresponse in an Internet survey," Munich Reprints in Economics 20093, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Carman, Katherine Grace & Kooreman, Peter, 2011. "Flu Shots, Mammograms, and the Perception of Probabilities," IZA Discussion Papers 5739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
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