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

Author

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  • Michaud Pierre-Carl

    () (RAND Corporation)

  • van Soest Arthur H.O.

    () (Tilburg University)

  • Andreyeva Tatiana

    () (Yale University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michaud Pierre-Carl & van Soest Arthur H.O. & Andreyeva Tatiana, 2007. "Cross-Country Variation in Obesity Patterns among Older Americans and Europeans," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-32, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:fhecpo:v:10:y:2007:i:2:n:8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tatiana Andreyeva & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Arthur Van Soest, 2005. "Obesity and Health in Europeans Ages 50 and Above," Working Papers WR-331, RAND Corporation.
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    7. Tatiana Andreyeva & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Arthur Van Soest, 2005. "Obesity and Health in Europeans Ages 50 and Above," Working Papers 331, RAND Corporation.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Lechner, 2008. "Long-Run Labour Market Effects of Individual Sports Activities," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 114, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Cavaco, Sandra & Eriksson, Tor & Skalli, Ali, 2014. "Life cycle development of obesity and its determinants in six European countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 62-78.
    3. Pierre-Carl Michaud & Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Yuhui Zheng & Adam Gailey, 2009. "Understanding the Economic Consequences of Shifting Trends in Population Health," NBER Working Papers 15231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Costa-Font, Joan & Fabbri, Daniele & Gil, Joan, 2009. "Decomposing body mass index gaps between Mediterranean countries: A counterfactual quantile regression analysis," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 351-365, December.
    5. O'Neill June E & O'Neill Dave M, 2008. "Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. the U.S," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-45, April.
    6. repec:eee:joecag:v:9:y:2017:i:c:p:122-144 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gwozdz, Wencke & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Reisch, Lucia A. & Ahrens, Wolfgang & Eiben, Gabriele & M. Fernandéz-Alvira, Juan & Hadjigeorgiou, Charalampos & De Henauw, Stefaan & Kovács, Eva & Lauria, Fabio, 2013. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity – A European perspective," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 728-742.
    8. Daouli, Joan & Davillas, Apostolos & Demoussis, Michael & Giannakopoulos, Nicholas, 2013. "The determinants of body mass in Greece: Evidence from the National Health Survey," MPRA Paper 66392, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Pieroni, L. & Salmasi, L., 2014. "Fast-food consumption and body weight. Evidence from the UK," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 94-105.
    10. Pieroni, Luca & Salmasi, Luca, 2010. "Body weight and socio-economic determinants: quantile estimations from the British Household Panel Survey," ISER Working Paper Series 2010-41, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    11. Shinsuke Ikeda & Kang Myong-Il & Fumio Ohtake, 2009. "Fat Debtors: Time Discounting, Its Anomalies, and Body Mass Index," ISER Discussion Paper 0732, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    12. Anna Sanz de Galdeano, 2007. "An Economic Analysis of Obesity in Europe: Health, Medical Care and Absenteeism Costs," Working Papers 2007-38, FEDEA.
    13. Ikeda, Shinsuke & Kang, Myong-Il & Ohtake, Fumio, 2010. "Hyperbolic discounting, the sign effect, and the body mass index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 268-284, March.
    14. Xiaoyan Li & Nicole Maestas, 2008. "Does the Rise in the Full Retirement Age Encourage Disability Benefits Applications? Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Working Papers wp198, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    15. Cavaco, Sandra & Eriksson, Tor & Skalli, Ali, 2011. "Life Cycle Development of Obesity and Its Determinants," Working Papers 11-7, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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