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Globesity: is globalization a pathway to obesity?

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  • Joan Costa-i-Font
  • Núria Mas
  • Patricia Navarro

Abstract

Obesity has risen dramatically at the same time as globalization has surged, which poses the question of whether the two are related. In this paper we analyze whether empirical evidence confirms the association between the different types of globalization (economic, political or social) and obesity using data from 15 up to 23 different countries for up to 15 years, as well as three primary outcomes: obesity, caloric intake and grams of fat consumed and a set of controls for micro-mechanisms that have been found to affect obesity in the economic and health literature. Our results are suggestive of a robust association between globalization and obesity, caloric intake and grams from fat consumed. Once we control for indirect micromechanisms associated with globalization such as food prices, female labor market participation, as well as urbanization and income, the direct impact of economic globalization is not significant, whilst ‘social globalization’ remains as a having robust and strong effect on the three measures of obesity. A one standard deviation increase in the index of social globalization from the Swiss federal institute of technology Zurich (KOF index) implies a rise of 3 percentage points in the proportion of obese population. It leads to a rise of 217 kcal and of 23.1 grams of fat consumed, respectively. Urbanization has a negative impact on the consumption of fat and caloric intake, while female labor force participation has a positive relationship with the three obesity outcomes.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/49488/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 49488.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:49488

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