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A healthy weight improves life satisfaction

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  • Nazim Habibov
  • Alena Auchynnikava
  • Rong Luo
  • Lida Fan

Abstract

In this study, we examine the effects of having a healthy weight in form of a healthy body mass index (BMI) on life satisfaction using the data from a diverse sample of 27 post‐communist transitional countries. We find that a healthy BMI significantly raises life satisfaction, while an increase in BMI reduces life satisfaction. We also find that the positive effect of a healthy BMI on life satisfaction substantially diminishes as the political and economic situation improves. Equally, the positive effect of healthy BMI on life satisfaction is considerably lower for those who exhibit higher levels of institutional trust and express trust in government, parliament, and political parties. Classic regression models such as ordinary least squares (OLS) and ordered probit significantly underestimate the true effect of healthy BMI on life satisfaction. Such results suggest that unobserved confounders, measurement error, or their interplay appear to be the main source (s) of bias that eventually lead to a significant underestimation of the true effect of BMI on life satisfaction through classic regression models.

Suggested Citation

  • Nazim Habibov & Alena Auchynnikava & Rong Luo & Lida Fan, 2019. "A healthy weight improves life satisfaction," International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1), pages 396-413, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijhplm:v:34:y:2019:i:1:p:396-413
    DOI: 10.1002/hpm.2672
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nazim Habibov & Elvin Afandi, 2015. "Pre- and Post-crisis Life-Satisfaction and Social Trust in Transitional Countries: An Initial Assessment," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 503-524, April.
    2. Dragone, Davide, 2009. "A rational eating model of binges, diets and obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 799-804, July.
    3. Nazim Habibov & Alex Cheung & Alena Auchynnikava, 2017. "Does trust increase willingness to pay higher taxes to help the needy?," International Social Security Review, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 70(3), pages 3-30, July.
    4. Selezneva, Ekaterina, 2011. "Surveying transitional experience and subjective well-being: Income, work, family," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 139-157, June.
    5. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2002. "Dress for success--does primping pay?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 361-373, July.
    6. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, May.
    7. Marina Selini Katsaiti, 2012. "Obesity and happiness," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(31), pages 4101-4114, November.
    8. Mavisakalyan, Astghik, 2018. "Do employers reward physical attractiveness in transition countries?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 38-52.
    9. Wang-Sheng Lee & Zhong Zhao, 2017. "Height, Weight and Well-Being for Rural, Urban and Migrant Workers in China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 117-136, May.
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    1. Namal N. Balasooriya & Jayatilleke S. Bandara & Nicholas Rohde, 2021. "The intergenerational effects of socioeconomic inequality on unhealthy bodyweight," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(4), pages 729-747, April.

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