Why the Poor Get Fat: Weight Gain and Economic Insecurity
Something about being poor makes people fat. Though there are many possible explanations for the income-body weight gradient, we investigate a promising but little-studied hypothesis: that changes in body weight canat least in partbe explained as an optimal response to economic insecurity. We use data on working-age men from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) to identify the effects of various measures of economic insecurity on weight gain. We find in particular that over the 12-year period between 1988 and 2000, the average man gained about 21 pounds. A one percentage point (0.01) increase in the probability of becoming unemployed causes weight gain over this period to increase by about 0.6 pounds, and each realized 50% drop in annual income results in an increase of about 5 pounds. The mechanism also appears to work in reverse, with health insurance and intrafamily transfers protecting against weight gain.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 12 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.degruyter.com|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/fhep|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
- Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002.
"Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
- Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," NBER Working Papers 8344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient," Working Papers 262, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
- David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003.
"Why Have Americans Become More Obese?,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
- David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005.
"Healthy living in hard times,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996.
"Are Recessions Good For Your Health?,"
NBER Working Papers
5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002.
"The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination,"
0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- 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.
- Trenton G. Smith, 2004.
"The McDonald’s Equilibrium. Advertising, empty calories, and the endogenous determination of dietary preferences,"
Social Choice and Welfare,
Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 23(3), pages 383-413, December.
- Smith, Trenton G, 2002. "The McDonald's Equilibrium: Advertising, Empty Calories, and the Endogenous Determination of Dietary Preferences," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0hx9x4jr, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Smith, Trenton G. & Tasnadi, Attila, 2007.
"A theory of natural addiction,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 316-344, May.
- Smith, Trenton G. & Tasnadi, Attila, 2005. "A Theory of Natural Addiction," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19195, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
- Trenton G. Smith & Attila Tasnádi, 2005. "A Theory of Natural Addiction," Microeconomics 0503006, EconWPA.
- Trenton Smith, 2009.
"Reconciling psychology with economics: Obesity, behavioral biology, and rational overeating,"
Journal of Bioeconomics,
Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 249-282, December.
- Trenton Smith, 2006. "Reconciling Psychology with Economics - Obesity, Behavioral Biology, and Rational Overeating," Working Papers 2006-4, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
- John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
- Kowalski Amanda E. & Congdon William J. & Showalter Mark H., 2008. "State Health Insurance Regulations and the Price of High-Deductible Policies," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-26, November.
- Gruber, Jonathan & Frakes, Michael, 2006. "Does falling smoking lead to rising obesity?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 183-197, March.
- Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 2005.
"Uncertainty and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1290-1299, September.
- Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2004. "Household Food Security In The United States, 2003," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33835, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Jay Bhattacharya & Neeraj Sood, 2005. "Health Insurance and the Obesity Externality," NBER Working Papers 11529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Albert J. Reed & J. William Levedahl & Charles Hallahan, 2005. "The Generalized Composite Commodity Theorem and Food Demand Estimation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(1), pages 28-37.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:fhecpo:v:12:y:2009:i:2:n:5. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.