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Bad times, slimmer children

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  • Cristina Belles-Obrero
  • Sergi Jiménez-Martín
  • Judit Vall-Castello

Abstract

In this paper we study the effect of business cycle conditions on infant underweight, overweight and obesity. We exploit 8 waves (1987-2012) of the Spanish National Health Survey for children aged 2-15 and use the regional unemployment rate of the trimester of the interview as a proxy for the business cycle phase at the local level. We find that an increase in the unemployment rate is associated with lower obesity incidence, especially for children under 6 years old and over 12 years old. Negative economic shocks also increase the prevalence of infant underweight, particularly for boys under 6 years old. Moreover, we show that one of the possible mechanism through which the cycle is impacting infant obesity is the nutritional composition of the children's diet, as well as, increases in the frequency of exercise. Although we show a deterioration in self-reported health for children under 6 years old, we provide some preliminary evidence that suggests that the impact of business cycle conditions on infant weight disorders have little objective health consequences in the short-run and do not persist in the medium-run.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristina Belles-Obrero & Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Judit Vall-Castello, 2015. "Bad times, slimmer children," Working Papers 2015-10, FEDEA.
  • Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2015-10
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    Cited by:

    1. Cristina Bellés‐Obrero & Sergi Jiménez‐Martín & Judit Vall‐Castello, 2016. "Bad Times, Slimmer Children?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(S2), pages 93-112, November.
    2. Bertoli, Paola & Grembi, Veronica & Vall Castellò, Judit, 2018. "Not all silver lining? The Great Recession and road traffic accidents," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 274-288.
    3. Bubonya, Melisa & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Christensen, Daniel & Johnson, Sarah E. & Zubrick, Stephen R., 2018. "The Great Recession and Children's Mental Health in Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 11891, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Cristina Borra & Jerònia Pons-Pons & Margarita Vilar-Rodríguez, 2020. "Austerity, healthcare provision, and health outcomes in Spain," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 21(3), pages 409-423, April.

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