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Smoking and body weight: Evidence using genetic instruments

Author

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  • Wehby, George L.
  • Murray, Jeffrey C.
  • Wilcox, Allen
  • Lie, Rolv T.

Abstract

Several studies have evaluated whether the high and rising obesity rates over the past three decades may be due to the declining smoking rates. There is mixed evidence across studies – some find negative smoking effects and positive cigarette cost effects on body weight, while others find opposite effects. This study applies a unique approach to identify the smoking effects on body weight and to evaluate the heterogeneity in these effects across the body mass index (BMI) distribution by utilizing genetic instruments for smoking. Using a data sample of 1057 mothers from Norway, the study finds heterogeneous effects of cigarette smoking on BMI – smoking increases BMI at low/moderate BMI levels and decreases BMI at high BMI levels. The study highlights the potential advantages and challenges of employing genetic instrumental variables to identify behavior effects including the importance of qualifying the instruments and the need for large samples.

Suggested Citation

  • Wehby, George L. & Murray, Jeffrey C. & Wilcox, Allen & Lie, Rolv T., 2012. "Smoking and body weight: Evidence using genetic instruments," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 113-126.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:10:y:2012:i:2:p:113-126
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2011.09.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Dodd, Mark C., 2014. "Intertemporal discounting as a risk factor for high BMI: Evidence from Australia, 2008," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 83-97.
    2. Courtemanche, Charles & Tchernis, Rusty & Ukert, Benjamin, 2018. "The effect of smoking on obesity: Evidence from a randomized trial," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 31-44.
    3. George Wehby & Allen Wilcox & Rolv Lie, 2013. "The impact of cigarette quitting during pregnancy on other prenatal health behaviors," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 211-233, June.
    4. Ricardo Goncalves & Peter J. Simmons & Yuanyuan Xie, 2017. "Rebel with(out) a cause? Inter-generational smoking dependence in Chinese households," Discussion Papers 17/20, Department of Economics, University of York.
    5. Aliaksandr Amialchuk & Kateryna Bornukova & Mir M. Ali, 2018. "Will a Decline in Smoking Increase Body Weights? Evidence from Belarus," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 44(2), pages 190-210, April.
    6. Hübler, Olaf, 2017. "Health and weight – gender-specific linkages under heterogeneity, interdependence and resilience factors," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 96-111.
    7. Taylor, Amy E. & Davies, Neil M. & Ware, Jennifer J. & VanderWeele, Tyler & Smith, George Davey & Munafò, Marcus R., 2014. "Mendelian randomization in health research: Using appropriate genetic variants and avoiding biased estimates," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 99-106.
    8. Srinivasan, C.S., 2013. "Can adherence to dietary guidelines address excess caloric intake? An empirical assessment for the UK," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 574-591.

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