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Direct and Indirect Determinants of Obesity: The Case of Indonesia

  • Romling, Cornelia
  • Qaim, Matin
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    Overweight and obesity are becoming serious issues in many developing countries. Since undernutrition is not completely eradicated yet, these countries face a dual burden that obstructs economic development. We analyze the nutrition transition in Indonesia using longitudinal data from the Indonesian Family and Life Survey, covering the period between 1993 and 2007. Obesity has been increasing remarkably across all population groups, including rural and low income strata. Prevalence rates are particularly high for women. We also develop a framework to analyze direct and indirect determinants of body mass index. This differentiation has rarely been made in previous research, but appears useful for policy making purposes. Regression models show that changing food consumption patterns coupled with decreasing physical activity levels during work and leisure time directly contribute to increasing obesity. Education, income, and marital status are significant determinants that influence nutritional status more indirectly. Change regressions underline that there are important path-dependencies. From a policy perspective, nutrition awareness and education campaigns, combined with programs to support leisure time exercise, seem to be most promising to contain the obesity pandemic. Women should be at the center of policy attention.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/108350
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    Paper provided by Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development in its series Discussion Papers with number 108350.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:gagfdp:108350
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, D-37073 Göttingen
    Web page: http://www.uni-goettingen.de/globalfood

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    1. Bing Ma, 2010. "Socioeconomic Status and Obesity Gradient over Age:New Evidence from China," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 10-122, UMBC Department of Economics, revised 01 Mar 2012.
    2. Avner Offer & Rachel Pechey and Stanley Ulijaszek, 2010. "Obesity under affluence varies by welfare regimes: The effect of fast food, insecurity, and inequality," Economics Series Working Papers Number 82, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Huffman, Sonya K. & Rizov, Marian, 1009. "The Rise of Obesity in Transition: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Russia," Staff General Research Papers 13107, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    4. Popkin, Barry M., 1999. "Urbanization, Lifestyle Changes and the Nutrition Transition," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 1905-1916, November.
    5. Anne Case & Alicia Menendez, 2007. "Sex Differences in Obesity Rates in Poor Countries: Evidence from South Africa," Working Papers 1004, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    6. Raghav Gaiha & Raghbendra Jha & Vani S. Kulkarni, 2010. "Obesity, Affluence and Urbanisation in India," ASARC Working Papers 2010-10, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    7. Tomas Philipson, 2001. "The world-wide growth in obesity: an economic research agenda," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(1), pages 1-7.
    8. Awudu Abdulai, 2010. "Socio-economic characteristics and obesity in underdeveloped economies: does income really matter?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 157-169.
    9. Lakdawalla, Darius & Philipson, Tomas, 2009. "The growth of obesity and technological change," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 283-293, December.
    10. Odelia Rosin, 2008. "The Economic Causes Of Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(4), pages 617-647, 09.
    11. Asfaw, Abay, 2007. "Do Government Food Price Policies Affect the Prevalence of Obesity? Empirical Evidence from Egypt," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 687-701, April.
    12. Caputo, Angelika & Foraita, Ronja & Klasen, Stephan & Pigeot, Iris, 2003. "Undernutrition in Benin--an analysis based on graphical models," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1677-1691, April.
    13. Fernald, Lia C.H., 2007. "Socio-economic status and body mass index in low-income Mexican adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(10), pages 2030-2042, May.
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