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My body is fat and my wallet is thin: The link between weight perceptions, weight control and income

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Author Info

  • Johnston, D.W.;
  • Lordan, G.;

Abstract

This paper explores why the poor are more likely to be overweight and obese than the rich. The main aim is to better understand the mechanisms underlying the income-obesity relationship so that effective policy interventions can be developed. Our approach involves analysing data on approximately 9,000 overweight British adults from between 1997 and 2002. We estimate the effect of income on the probability that an overweight individual correctly recognises their overweight status and the effect of income on the probability that an overweight individual attempts to lose weight. Our work finds that low-income individuals are more likely to both misperceive that they are a healthy weight and fail to address their unhealthy weight. Both of these effects are higher for males than females. For example, it is estimated that overweight low-income males are 15%-points less likely to recognize their overweight status than overweight high-income males, and that after controlling for weight perceptions, overweight low-income males are 10%-points less likely to be trying to lose weight. An implication of these results is that more public education on what constitutes overweight and the dangers associated with being overweight is needed, especially in low income neighbourhoods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 12/27.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:12/27

Contact details of provider:
Postal: HEDG/HERC, Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
Phone: (0)1904 323776
Fax: (0)1904 323759
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Web page: http://www.york.ac.uk/economics/postgrad/herc/hedg/
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Related research

Keywords: Obesity; Overweight; Weight Control; Weight Misperceptions;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Zick, Cathleen D. & Smith, Ken R. & Fan, Jessie X. & Brown, Barbara B. & Yamada, Ikuho & Kowaleski-Jones, Lori, 2009. "Running to the Store? The relationship between neighborhood environments and the risk of obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 1493-1500, November.
  2. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  10. Sallis, James F. & Saelens, Brian E. & Frank, Lawrence D. & Conway, Terry L. & Slymen, Donald J. & Cain, Kelli L. & Chapman, James E. & Kerr, Jacqueline, 2009. "Neighborhood built environment and income: Examining multiple health outcomes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1285-1293, April.
  11. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Burdette, Amy M. & Hill, Terrence D., 2008. "An examination of processes linking perceived neighborhood disorder and obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 38-46, July.
  14. John Cawley & John R. Moran & Kosali I. Simon, 2008. "The Impact of Income on the Weight of Elderly Americans," NBER Working Papers 14104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Cohen-Cole, Ethan & Fletcher, Jason M., 2008. "Is obesity contagious? Social networks vs. environmental factors in the obesity epidemic," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1382-1387, September.
  16. Costa-Font, Montserrat & Gil, José M. & Traill, W. Bruce, 2008. "Consumer acceptance, valuation of and attitudes towards genetically modified food: Review and implications for food policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 99-111, April.
  17. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H., 2006. "Time discounting and the body mass index: Evidence from the Netherlands," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 39-61, January.
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  1. Weekly Roundup 194: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web!
    by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2012-11-27 04:59:06

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