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Body mass index as a standard of living measure: a different interpretation for the case of Colombia

  • Luis Fernando Gamboa


  • Nohora Y. Forero Ramírez


We analyze the Body Mass Index (BMI) in a distinct way of its traditional use and it lets us use it as a proxy of standard of living for the case of Colombia. Our approach is focused on studying how far the people are from the normal range and not on the score of each one and this lets us to treat equally extreme cases as severe thinness and obesity. We use a probabilistic model (Ordered Probit) that evaluates the probability of being within the normal range or another level. We found that socioeconomic variables have a significant effect on the dependent variable and that there are no linear effects. Besides, people with difficulties for walking and adults have less probability of having a normal BMI.

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Paper provided by UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO in its series DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO with number 005218.

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Length: 26
Date of creation: 08 Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:col:000092:005218
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  1. Fabrice Etilé, 2007. "Social norms, ideal body weight and food attitudes," Post-Print halshs-00754207, HAL.
  2. Adolfo Meisel R. & Margarita Vega A., 2004. "La estatura de los colombianos: un ensayo de antropometría histórica, 1910-2002," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO SOBRE ECONOMÍA REGIONAL 002999, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL.
  3. Burke & Heiland, 2007. "Social Dynamics Of Obesity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 571-591, 07.
  4. Paquette, M.-C.Marie-Claude & Raine, Kim, 2004. "Sociocultural context of women's body image," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(5), pages 1047-1058, September.
  5. Robert W. Fogel, 1986. "Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality since 1700: Some Preliminary Findings," NBER Chapters, in: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, pages 439-556 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Luis Fernando Gamboa & José Alberto Guerra, 2006. "Una evaluación estática y dinámica de los cambios en calidad de vida en Colombia durante 1997-2003," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, December.
  7. Paul Contoyannis & John Wildman, 2007. "Using relative distributions to investigate the body mass index in England and Canada," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(9), pages 929-944.
  8. Adolfo Meisel R. & Margarita Vega A., 2006. "Los orígenes de la antropometría histórica y su estado actual," CUADERNOS DE HISTORIA ECONÓMICA Y EMPRESARIAL 003175, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL.
  9. Richard H. Steckel, 2008. "Biological Measures of the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 129-152, Winter.
  10. Slottje, Daniel J, 1991. "Measuring the Quality of Life across Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 684-93, November.
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