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Decomposing body mass index gaps between Mediterranean countries: A counterfactual quantile regression analysis

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  • Costa-Font, Joan
  • Fabbri, Daniele
  • Gil, Joan

Abstract

Wide cross-country variation in obesity rates has been reported between European Union member states. Although the existing cross-country differences have not been analyzed in depth, they contain important information on health production determinants. In this paper we apply a methodology for conducting standardized cross-country comparisons of body mass index (BMI). We draw on estimations of the marginal density function of BMI for Italy and Spain in 2003, two countries with similar GDP and socio-economic conditions. We produce different counterfactual distribution estimates using covariates (health production inputs) specified in a quantile regression. Our findings suggest that Spain-to-Italy BMI gaps among females are largely explained by cross-country variation in the returns to each covariate, especially for younger women. We find that adverse underlying determinants do not explain the gap observed in particular between younger Spanish females and their Italian counterfactuals; behavioural differences appear to be the key. We tentatively conclude that Spanish policy on obesity should target mainly younger females.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:3:p:351-365
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. L. Pieroni & D. Lanari & L. Salmasi, 2013. "Food prices and overweight patterns in Italy," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), pages 133-151.
    3. Herzfeld, Thomas & Huffman, Sonya & Rizov, Marian, 2014. "The dynamics of food, alcohol and cigarette consumption in Russia during transition," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 128-143.
    4. Font, Joan Costa & Fabbri, Daniele & Gil, Joan, 2010. "Decomposing cross-country differences in levels of obesity and overweight: Does the social environment matter?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 1185-1193.
    5. Karaoglan, Deniz & Tansel, Aysit, 2017. "Determinants of Obesity in Turkey: A Quantile Regression Analysis from a Developing Country," MPRA Paper 76250, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Lundborg, Petter & Lyttkens, Carl Hampus & Nystedt, Paul, 2012. "Do Socioeconomic Factors Really Explain Income-Related Inequalities in Health? Applying a Twin Design to Standard Decomposition Analysis," Working Papers 2012:21, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    7. Etile, Fabrice, 2014. "Education policies and health inequalities: Evidence from changes in the distribution of Body Mass Index in France, 1981–2003," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 46-65.
    8. Dodd, Mark C., 2014. "Intertemporal discounting as a risk factor for high BMI: Evidence from Australia, 2008," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 83-97.
    9. Donal O’Neill & Olive Sweetman, 2016. "Bounding obesity rates in the presence of self-reporting errors," Empirical Economics, Springer, pages 857-871.
    10. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    BMI Country weight gap Quantile regression Counterfactual decomposition Mediterranean countries Italy Spain;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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