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Longer Hours and Larger Waistlines? The Relationship Between Work Hours and Obesity

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  • Courtemanche, Charles

    ()
    (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Additional work hours may lead to weight gain by decreasing exercise, causing substitution from meals prepared at home to fast food and pre-prepared processed food, or reducing sleep. Substitution toward unhealthy convenience foods could also influence the weight of one's spouse and children, while longer work hours for adults may further impact child weight by reducing parental supervision. I examine the effects of adult work hours on the body mass index (BMI) and obesity status of adults as well as the overweight status of children. Longer hours increase one's own BMI and probability of being obese, but have a smaller and statistically insignificant effect on these outcomes for one's spouse. Mothers', but not mother's spouse's, work hours affect children's probability of being overweight. My estimates imply that changes in labor force participation account for only 1.4% of the rise in adult obesity in recent decades, but a more substantial 10.4% of the growth in childhood overweight.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 09-2.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 24 Aug 2008
Date of revision: 12 Mar 2009
Handle: RePEc:ris:uncgec:2009_002

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Box 26165, Greensboro, NC 27402-6165
Phone: (336) 334-5463
Fax: (336) 334-4089
Web page: http://www.uncg.edu/bae/econ/
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Related research

Keywords: Work hours; obesity; body weight; employment; labor force;

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Cited by:
  1. Maclean, Johanna Catherine, 2013. "The health effects of leaving school in a bad economy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 951-964.
  2. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John & Schmeiser, Maximilian D., 2009. "The timing of the rise in U.S. obesity varies with measure of fatness," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 307-318, December.
  3. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2011. "The Geographic Accessibility of Child Care Subsidies and Evidence on the Impact of Subsidy Receipt on Childhood Obesity," IZA Discussion Papers 6025, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Greve, Jane, 2011. "New results on the effect of maternal work hours on children's overweight status: Does the quality of child care matter?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 579-590, October.
  5. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, 09.
  6. John Gathergood & Eleonora Fichera, . "House Prices, Home Equity and Health," Discussion Papers 12/07, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
  7. Cawley, John & Liu, Feng, 2012. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 352-364.
  8. Charles J. Courtemanche & Garth Heutel & Patrick McAlvanah, 2011. "Impatience, Incentives, and Obesity," NBER Working Papers 17483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Anderson, Patricia M., 2012. "Parental employment, family routines and childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 340-351.
  10. Garth Heutel & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2013. "Air Pollution and Procyclical Mortality," NBER Working Papers 18959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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