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Cross-Country Variation in Obesity Patterns among Older Americans and Europeans

  • Michaud Pierre-Carl

    ()

    (RAND Corporation)

  • van Soest Arthur H.O.

    ()

    (Tilburg University)

  • Andreyeva Tatiana

    ()

    (Yale University)

While the fraction of obese people is not as large in Europe as in the United States, obesity is becoming an important issue in Europe as well. Using comparable data from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and the Health and Retirement Study in the U.S. (HRS), we analyze the correlates of obesity in the population ages 50 and above, focusing on measures of energy intake and expenditure as well as socio-economic status. We find that obesity rates differ substantially on both sides of the Atlantic and across European countries, with most of the difference coming from the right tail of the weight distribution. The well-known SES gradient in the prevalence of obesity differs across countries and cannot be fully explained by the variation in food expenditure or physical activity. Obesity is associated with lack of physical activity, calorie intake, time spent on cooking, and time and money spent on eating at home and away from home, but some of these associations vary across countries. More research is needed to analyze why this is the case.

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File URL: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/fhep.2007.10.2/fhep.2007.10.2.1087/fhep.2007.10.2.1087.xml?format=INT
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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Forum for Health Economics & Policy.

Volume (Year): 10 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 1-32

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:fhecpo:v:10:y:2007:i:2:n:8
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  1. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Sara Bleich & David Cutler & Christopher Murray & Alyce Adams, 2007. "Why Is The Developed World Obese?," NBER Working Papers 12954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Anna Sanz De Galdeano, 2005. "The Obesity Epidemic in Europe," CSEF Working Papers 143, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  6. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Tatiana Andreyeva & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Arthur van Soest, 2005. "Obesity and Health in Europeans Ages 50 and Above," Working Papers 331, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  8. Agar Brugiavini & Tullio Jappelli & Guglielmo Weber, 2002. "The Survey on Health, Aging and Wealth," CSEF Working Papers 86, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  9. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-355918 is not listed on IDEAS
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