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Too late to get healthy? A behavioural analysis of the diet-health relationship in the older Italian population

Author

Listed:
  • Mazzocchi, Mario
  • Irz, Xavier
  • Modugno, Lucia
  • Traill, W. Bruce

Abstract

The continuous aging of the EU population challenges the sustainability of welfare states. Part of the solution is to ensure that people not only live longer but also better (i.e., that they can function independently while remaining free of disease/disability), which may be achieved through better nutrition and adoption of healthier lifestyles. We test that proposition with a behavioural model of diet quality choice and health determination. The simultaneous equations model, which accounts for the endogeneity of lifestyle choices and is applied to a sample of older Italians, allows for bi-directional causality between diet and health. The health production function confirms that good quality diets and other healthy lifestyles (e.g., physical activity, smoking and drinking) improve self-assessed health. In turn, the elderly respond to illness by improving their diets and exercising more. Supporting healthy aging may be achieved through targeted policies aimed at promoting healthy eating and other healthy lifestyles.

Suggested Citation

  • Mazzocchi, Mario & Irz, Xavier & Modugno, Lucia & Traill, W. Bruce, 2015. "Too late to get healthy? A behavioural analysis of the diet-health relationship in the older Italian population," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 229070, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae15:229070
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.229070
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/229070/files/Mazzochi%20v3.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mazzocchi, Mario & Traill, W. Bruce & Shogren, Jason F., 2009. "Fat Economics: Nutrition, Health, and Economic Policy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199213863.
    2. Balia, Silvia & Jones, Andrew M., 2008. "Mortality, lifestyle and socio-economic status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-26, January.
    3. Gilleskie, Donna B. & Harrison, Amy L., 1998. "The effect of endogenous health inputs on the relationship between health and education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 279-295, June.
    4. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
    5. David M. Cutler & James M. Poterba & Louise M. Sheiner & Lawrence H. Summers, 1990. "An Aging Society: Opportunity or Challenge?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 1-74.
    6. repec:fth:harver:1490 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Keywords

    Consumer/Household Economics; Food Security and Poverty;

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