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The connection between working hours and body mass index in the U.S.: a time use analysis

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  • Joelle Abramowitz

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Abstract

Over recent decades, Americans have transitioned from working in active jobs to working in sedentary jobs, and there have been dramatic increases in hours worked for certain demographic groups. While a body of research documents that time spent working is associated with increased body mass index (BMI), this paper explores possible mechanisms for that relationship using time use data. This paper finds that, for workers in non-strenuous jobs, 10 additional hours spent working are associated with an increase in BMI of 0.424 for women and 0.197 for men, representing an increase of 2.5 and 1.4 pounds, respectively. The paper does not find a relationship between working time and BMI for workers in strenuous jobs. For workers in non-strenuous jobs, the effect of time spent working on BMI becomes smaller after accounting for time spent sleeping for both men and women and time spent in exercise and food preparation for women only; the effect becomes larger after accounting for screen time for both men and women and time spent in secondary eating and commuting for women only. Screen time is the single time use channel associated with the largest differences in the estimated effect of time spent working on BMI for both women and men employed in non-strenuous jobs. After controlling for all time use channels, the effect of hours worked on BMI decreases for women, but increases for men. These findings suggest plausible mechanisms for the association between time spent working and obesity. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2016

Suggested Citation

  • Joelle Abramowitz, 2016. "The connection between working hours and body mass index in the U.S.: a time use analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 131-154, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:14:y:2016:i:1:p:131-154
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-014-9267-4
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11150-014-9267-4
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:insuma:v:83:y:2018:i:c:p:110-121 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11150-017-9378-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Archana Dang & Pushkar Maitra & Nidhiya Menon, 2018. "Labor Market Engagement and the Health of Working Adults: Evidence from India," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series dp-305, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Archana Dang & Pushkar Maitra & Nidhiya Menon, 2017. "Labor Market Engagement and the Health of Working Adults: Evidence from India," Working Papers id:12218, eSocialSciences.
    5. Dang, Archana & Maitra, Pushkar & Menon, Nidhiya, 2017. "Labor Market Engagement and the Health of Working Adults: Evidence from India," IZA Discussion Papers 11118, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Obesity; Time use; Working hours; Body mass index; BMI; Health behaviors; I12; J22;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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