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Estimating Obesity Rates in Europe in the Presence of Self-Reporting Errors

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  • Donal O'Neill

    ()
    (Department of Economics Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

  • Olive Sweetman

    ()
    (Department of Economics Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

Abstract

Reliable measures of obesity are essential in order to develop effective policies to tackle the costs of obesity. We examine what, if anything, we can learn about obesity rates using self-reported BMI once we allow for possible measurement error. Existing approaches that correct for self-reporting errors often require strong assumptions. In this paper 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 using minimal assumptions on the error process. 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 Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth in its series Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series with number n236-13.pdf.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:may:mayecw:n236-13.pdf

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Postal: Maynooth, Co. Kildare
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Web page: http://economics.nuim.ie
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Keywords: Obesity; Self-Reporting Errors; Bounds;

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  1. Molinari, Francesca, 2005. "Partial Identification of Probability Distributions with Misclassified Data," Working Papers 05-10, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  2. John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Donal O’Neill & Olive Sweetman, 2013. "The consequences of measurement error when estimating the impact of obesity on income," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-20, December.
  4. Cheti Nicoletti & Franco Peracchi & Francesca Foliano, 2009. "Estimating Income Poverty in the Presence of Missing Data and Measurement Error," CEIS Research Paper 145, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 30 Sep 2009.
  5. Richard Breen & Pasi Moisio, 2004. "Poverty dynamics corrected for measurement error," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 171-191, July.
  6. Hausman, J. A. & Abrevaya, Jason & Scott-Morton, F. M., 1998. "Misclassification of the dependent variable in a discrete-response setting," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 239-269, September.
  7. A. Konnopka & M. Bödemann & H.-H. König, 2011. "Health burden and costs of obesity and overweight in Germany," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 345-352, August.
  8. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  9. Toni Mora, 2010. "BMI and Spanish labour status: evidence by gender from the city of Barcelona," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 239-253, June.
  10. Paul P. Biemer & Christopher Wiesen, 2002. "Measurement error evaluation of self-reported drug use: a latent class analysis of the US National Household Survey on Drug Abuse," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(1), pages 97-119.
  11. Fernando Antonanzas & Roberto Rodríguez, 2010. "Feeding the economics of obesity in the EU in a healthy way," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 351-353, August.
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