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Estimating Obesity Rates in the Presence of Measurement Error

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  • O'Neill, Donal

    ()
    (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

  • Sweetman, Olive

    ()
    (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

Abstract

Reliable measures of obesity are essential in order to develop effective policies to tackle the costs of obesity. In this paper we examine what, if anything, we can learn about obesity rates using self-reported BMI once we allow for possible measurement error. We combine self-reported data on BMI with estimated misclassification rates obtained from auxiliary data to derive upper and lower bounds for the population obesity rate for ten European countries. For men it is possible to obtain meaningful comparisons across countries even after accounting for measurement error. In particular the self-reported data identifies a set of low obesity countries consisting of Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Portugal and a set of high obesity countries consisting of Spain and Finland. However, it is more difficult to rank countries by female obesity rates. Meaningful rankings only emerge when the misclassification rate is bounded at a level that is much lower than that observed in auxiliary data. A similar limit on misclassification rates is also needed before we can begin to observe meaningful gender differences in obesity rates within countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7288.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7288

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Keywords: obesity; measurement error; bounds;

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  1. Donal O'Neill & Olive sweetman, 2012. "The Consequences of Measurement Error when Estimating the Impact of BMI on Labour Market Outcomes," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n232b-12.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  2. Giorgio Brunello & Beatrice d'Hombres, 2006. "Does Body Weight affect Wages? Evidence from Europe," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0027, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  3. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  4. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
  5. Cheti Nicoletti & Franco Peracchi & Francesca Foliano, 2011. "Estimating Income Poverty in the Presence of Missing Data and Measurement Error," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 61-72, January.
  6. Lindeboom, Maarten & Lundborg, Petter & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2010. "Assessing the impact of obesity on labor market outcomes," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 309-319, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Alan Fernihough & Mark E. McGovern, . "Physical Stature Decline and the Health Status of the Elderly Population in England," PGDA Working Papers 11214, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.

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