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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cavaco, Sandra & Eriksson, Tor & Skalli, Ali, 2014. "Life Cycle Development of Obesity and Its Determinants in Six European Countries," CEI Working Paper Series 2013-08, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:hitcei:2013-08
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    Cited by:

    1. Humphreys, Brad & Ruseski, Jane & Zhou, Li, 2015. "Physical Activity, Present Bias, and Habit Formation: Theory and Evidence from Longitudinal Data," Working Papers 2015-6, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
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    3. Merino Ventosa, María & Urbanos-Garrido, Rosa M.maria.merino.ven@gmail.com, 2016. "Disentangling effects of socioeconomic status on obesity: A cross-sectional study of the Spanish adult population," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 216-224.
    4. Morales, Leonardo Fabio & Gordon-Larsen, Penny & Guilkey, David, 2016. "Obesity and health-related decisions: An empirical model of the determinants of weight status across the transition from adolescence to young adulthood," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 46-62.
    5. Alois Stutzer & Armando N. Meier, 2016. "Limited Self‐control, Obesity, and the Loss of Happiness," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(11), pages 1409-1424, November.
    6. Dimitrios Minos, 2020. "“Eat, my child.” Obesity among children in developing countries: Evidence from South Africa," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(4), pages 1300-1311, November.

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    Keywords

    Obesity; socioeconomic status; life cycle; cross-country differences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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