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The Economics of Obesity-Related Mortality among High Income Countries

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  • Huffman, Wallace E.
  • Huffman, Sonya Kostova
  • Tegene, Abebayehu
  • Rickertsen, Kyrre

Abstract

The high and rapidly rising adult obesity rates in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are associated with major health risks, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer; large health care costs; and premature deaths annually. For example, the death rate from diabetes mellitus has been rising in the U.S. In contrast, death rates from circulator diseases have a strong negative trend, but rising obesity rates almost certainly have slowed this trend. This paper focuses on obesity-related mortality from diabetes and circulatory diseases and establishes the econometric underpinning of an aggregate household health production function and an aggregate household health supply function using data for 15 high income countries, 1971-2001. Our health production function estimates show that mortality is related with a lag to diet, health care, organization of the health care system, and knowledge and technical change. Our aggregate household supply function shows that lower food prices increase and socialized medicine at a modest level decreases mortality with a lag, other things equal, including medical and dietary information and medical technology. From a policy perspective, cheap, unhealthy food is bad for human health and socialized medicine at some level is good for health.

Suggested Citation

  • Huffman, Wallace E. & Huffman, Sonya Kostova & Tegene, Abebayehu & Rickertsen, Kyrre, 2006. "The Economics of Obesity-Related Mortality among High Income Countries," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25567, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25567
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/25567
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark R. Rosenzweig & T. Paul Schultz, 1982. "The Behavior of Mothers as Inputs to Child Health: The Determinants of Birth Weight, Gestation, and Rate of Fetal Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 53-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    3. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
    4. Loureiro, Maria L. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr., 2005. "Obesity Rates in OECD Countries: An International Perspective," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24650, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    6. Fred Kuchler & Abebayehu Tegene & J. Michael Harris, 2005. "Taxing Snack Foods: Manipulating Diet Quality or Financing Information Programs?," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 4-20.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Miller, J. Corey & Coble, Keith H., 2008. "An International Comparison of the Effects of Government Agricultural Support on Food Budget Shares," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(02), pages 551-558, August.
    2. Chen, Yanni & Huffman, Wallace E., 2009. "An Economic Analysis of the Impact of Food Prices and Other Factors on Adult Lifestyles: Choices of Physical Activity and Healthy Weight," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 49987, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Sonya Kostova Huffman, 2014. "BMI Changes in Russian Adults: The Role of Health Related Behaviors and Spousal Relationships," Research in Applied Economics, Macrothink Institute, vol. 6(3), pages 129-142, September.
    4. Chen, Yanni, 2009. "An economic analysis of decisions on physical activity and energy imbalance: cross-sectional evidence from a panel of middle-aged adults," ISU General Staff Papers 200901010800001747, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Herzfeld, Thomas & Huffman, Sonya Kostova & Oskam, Arie J. & Rizov, Marian, 2009. "Changes in Food, Alcohol and Cigarettes Consumption during Transition: Evidence from Russia," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49239, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Sonya K. Huffman & Marian Rizov, 2007. "The Rise of Obesity in Transition Economies: Theory and Evidence from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey," LICOS Discussion Papers 18507, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    7. Herzfeld, Thomas & Huffman, Sonya & Rizov, Marian, 2014. "The dynamics of food, alcohol and cigarette consumption in Russia during transition," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 128-143.
    8. Herzfeld, Thomas & Huffman, Sonya K. & Rizov, Marian, 2009. "The Dynamics of the Russian Lifestyle During Transition: Changes in Food, Alcohol and Cigarette Consumption," Staff General Research Papers Archive 13116, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    9. Huffman, Sonya K. & Rizov, Marian, 2007. "Determinants of obesity in transition economies: The case of Russia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 379-391, December.
    10. Huang, Ying, 2012. "an econometric study of the impact of economic variables on adult obesity and food assistance program participation in the NLSY panel," ISU General Staff Papers 201201010800003717, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

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