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Life Cycle Development of Obesity and Its Determinants in Six European Countries

  • Cavaco, Sandra
  • Eriksson, Tor
  • Skalli, Ali

This paper empirically examines the role and relative importance of parents’ and individuals’ own socioeconomic status and how their impacts on the probability of overweight and obesity evolve over the life cycle. The impact of individuals’ health behaviours on their obesity status later in life is also studied. We use data from Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, the Netherlands and the U.K. in which about 6,000 individuals aged 50 to 65 are surveyed and where individuals’ height and weight at different ages (25, 25, 45 and current age) are available. We perform “repeated cross-sections” analyses as well as dynamic probit analyses of the individuals’ obesity histories. Key findings are: (i) parents’ socioeconomic status predicts obesity in early adulthood whereas the individual’s own socioeconomic status as adult is more important in explaining obesity at later stages of the life cycle, (ii) changes in obesity status are associated with changes in health behaviours, (iii) obesity in late adulthood is strongly and positively correlated with overweight and obesity in younger ages, and (iv) cross-country differences in obesity and overweight largely remain after controlling for parental and childhood factors and individuals’ health behaviours.

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File URL: http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/26092/1/wp2013-8.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series CEI Working Paper Series with number 2013-08.

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Length: 41, 14 p.
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Handle: RePEc:hit:hitcei:2013-08
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