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The Determinants of Misreporting Weight and Height: The Role of Social Norms

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  • Joan Gil
  • Toni Mora

Abstract

This paper uses a combination of the 2006 Catalan Health and Health & Examination Surveys to compute the size of weight and height self-reporting biases. The underlying determinants of these self-reporting biases are also analysed, placing special emphasis on examining the role played by social norms. Our findings show that social norms have a dual impact on these self-reporting biases: the higher the distance between individuals’ measured weight (height) and that of their average reference group, the higher (lower) the weight (height) bias or more (less) inclined they are to misreport their weight (height). This evidence confirms the influence of group-specific factors or social norms on self-reports of attributes. Finally, the relationship found between the measured and self-reported anthropometric data in our merged database was applied to the Spanish National Health Survey (NHS) to correct its self-reported information. Interestingly, after correcting for self-reporting errors, both the BMI and the prevalence of obesity were significantly underestimated; the increase was higher among women.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2009-01.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2009-01

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Costa-Font, J & Fabbri, D & Gil, J, 2008. "Decomposing Bodymass Index gaps between Mediterranean countries: A Counterfactual Quantile Regression Analysis," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York 08/02, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. Sunder, Marco, 2013. "The height gap in 19th-century America: Net-nutritional advantage of the elite increased at the onset of modern economic growth," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 245-258.
  3. Mariano Bosch & Carlos Bozzoli & Climent Quintana, 2010. "The Evolution of Adult Height Across Spanish Regions 1950-1980: A New Source of Data," Working Papers 2010-01, FEDEA.
  4. Pieroni, L. & Salmasi, L., 2014. "Fast-food consumption and body weight. Evidence from the UK," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 94-105.
  5. Sunder, Marco, 2011. "Upward and onward: High-society American women eluded the antebellum puzzle," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 165-171, March.
  6. Ljungvall, Åsa & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Lindblad, Ulf, 2012. "Misreporting and Misclassification: Implications for Socioeconomic Disparities in Body-mass Index and Obesity," Working Papers 2012:19, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  7. Spijker, Jeroen J.A. & Cámara, Antonio D. & Blanes, Amand, 2012. "The health transition and biological living standards: Adult height and mortality in 20th-century Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 276-288.
  8. Carrieri, Vincenzo & De Paola, Maria, 2012. "Height and subjective well-being in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 289-298.
  9. Radwan, Amr & Gil, José M., 2014. "On the Nexus between Economic and Obesity Crisis in Spain: Parametric and Nonparametric Analysis of the Role of Economic Factors on Obesity Prevalence," 88th Annual Conference, April 9-11, 2014, AgroParisTech, Paris, France, Agricultural Economics Society 170341, Agricultural Economics Society.
  10. Juan Oliva-Moreno & Ana Gil-Lacruz, 2013. "Body weight and health-related quality of life in Catalonia, Spain," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 95-105, February.
  11. Vincenzo Carrieri & Maria De Paola, 2011. "The Effects Of Peoples’ Height And Relative Height On Well-Being," Working Papers 201110, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
  12. Wen, Ming & Maloney, Thomas N., 2014. "Neighborhood socioeconomic status and BMI differences by immigrant and legal status: Evidence from Utah," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 120-131.
  13. Costa-Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Jiménez-Rubio, Dolores, 2014. "Income inequalities in unhealthy life styles in England and Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 66-75.

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