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Overweight in adolescents: Implications for health expenditures

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  • Monheit, Alan C.
  • Vistnes, Jessica P.
  • Rogowski, Jeannette A.

Abstract

We consider a compelling research question raised by the growing prevalence of overweight among adolescents: do overweight adolescents incur greater health care expenditures than adolescents of normal weight? To address this question, we use data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and estimate a two-part, generalized linear model (GLM) of health spending. Considering separate models by gender, we find that overweight females incur $790 more in annual expenditures than those of normal weight but we find no expenditure differences by bodyweight for males. We find that mental health spending is associated with part of the disparity in expenditures for adolescent females but establishing causality between mental health problems and weight-related health expenditure differences is challenging.

Suggested Citation

  • Monheit, Alan C. & Vistnes, Jessica P. & Rogowski, Jeannette A., 2009. "Overweight in adolescents: Implications for health expenditures," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 55-63, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:1:p:55-63
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risky Behavior among Youths: Some Issues from Behavioral Economics," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 29-68, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Eric Johnson & Melayne Morgan McInnes & Judith A. Shinogle, 2006. "What is the Economic Cost of Overweight Children?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 171-187, Winter.
    3. Jay Bhattacharya & Janet Currie, 2001. "Youths at Nutrition Risk: Malnourished or Misnourished?," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 483-522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
    5. Manning, Willard G. & Mullahy, John, 2001. "Estimating log models: to transform or not to transform?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 461-494, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Apouey, Bénédicte H. & Geoffard, Pierre-Yves, 2016. "Parents’ education and child body weight in France: The trajectory of the gradient in the early years," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 70-89.
    2. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John & Schmeiser, Maximilian D., 2009. "The timing of the rise in U.S. obesity varies with measure of fatness," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 307-318, December.
    3. Cotti, Chad & Tefft, Nathan, 2013. "Fast food prices, obesity, and the minimum wage," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 134-147.
    4. Joanne Castonguay, 2012. "Revue de littérature sur les études économiques des interventions auprès des enfants obèses," CIRANO Project Reports 2012rp-15, CIRANO.
    5. Costa-Font, Joan & Gil, Joan, 2013. "Intergenerational and socioeconomic gradients of child obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 29-37.
    6. Breitfelder, Ariane & Wenig, Christina M. & Wolfenstetter, Silke B. & Rzehak, Peter & Menn, Petra & John, Jürgen & Leidl, Reiner & Bauer, Carl Peter & Koletzko, Sibylle & Röder, Stefan & Herbarth, Olf, 2011. "Relative weight-related costs of healthcare use by children--Results from the two German birth cohorts, GINI-plus and LISA-plus," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 302-315, July.
    7. Irina B. Grafova & Alan C. Monheit & Rizie Kumar, 2020. "How do changes in income, employment and health insurance affect family mental health spending?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 239-263, March.
    8. Black, Nicole & Hughes, Robert & Jones, Andrew M., 2018. "The health care costs of childhood obesity in Australia: An instrumental variables approach," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 1-13.
    9. Kinge, Jonas Minet & Morris, Stephan, 2015. "The impact of childhood obesity on health and health service use: an instrumental variable approach," HERO Online Working Paper Series 2015:2, University of Oslo, Health Economics Research Programme.

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    Keywords

    BMI Adolescents Health expenditures;

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