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Can Obesity Cause Depression? Using Pseudo Panel Analysis


  • Hyungserk Ha

    (Youth Independence & Competencies Research Office, National Youth Policy Institute, Sejong, Republic of Korea)

  • Chirok Han

    (Department of Economics, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

  • Beomsoo Kim

    () (Department of Economics, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)


The U.S. ranks ninth in obesity in the world (Forbes, 2007), and approximately 7% of the U.S. adults experience major depressive disorder. Social isolation from the stigma attached to obesity might trigger depression. This paper examines this impact of obesity on depression. To overcome the endogeneity problem we construct pseudo panel data using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for the 1997-2008 periods. The results are robust and found that BMI has a positive effect on depression days and fraction of depressed. We attempt to overcome endogeneity problem by using pseudo panel approach and find that an increase in the BMI would increase depression days (or being depressed) statistically significantly and big in magnitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Hyungserk Ha & Chirok Han & Beomsoo Kim, 2017. "Can Obesity Cause Depression? Using Pseudo Panel Analysis," Discussion Paper Series 1701, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
  • Handle: RePEc:iek:wpaper:1701

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Verbeek, Marno & Nijman, Theo, 1992. "Can Cohort Data Be Treated as Genuine Panel Data?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 9-23.
    2. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John & Schmeiser, Maximilian D., 2009. "The timing of the rise in U.S. obesity varies with measure of fatness," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 307-318, December.
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    Obesity; Depression;

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