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Do they know what is at risk? Health risk perception among the obese

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  • Winter, Joachim
  • Wuppermann, Amelie C.

Abstract

The perception of health risks and risky health behaviors are closely associated. In this paper, we investigate the accuracy of health risk perceptions among obese individuals, aged 50-62 years. We compare subjective risk perceptions for various diseases elicited in the American Life Panel to individual's objective risks of the same diseases. We find that obese individuals significantly underestimate their 5-year risks of arthritis or rheumatism and hypertension, whereas they systematically overestimate their 5-year risks of a heart attack and a stroke. Obese individuals are thus aware of some but not all obesity-related health risks. For given diseases, we document substantial heterogeneities in the accuracy of expectations across individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Winter, Joachim & Wuppermann, Amelie C., 2014. "Do they know what is at risk? Health risk perception among the obese," Munich Reprints in Economics 22167, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:22167
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    2. Grevenbrock, Nils & Groneck, Max & Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2015. "Biased Survival Beliefs, Psychological and Cognitive Explanations, and the Demand for Life Insurances," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113203, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Nils Grevenbrock & Max Groneck & Alexander Ludwig & Alexander Zimper, 2021. "Cognition, Optimism, And The Formation Of Age‐Dependent Survival Beliefs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(2), pages 887-918, May.
    4. Hasanzadeh, Samira & Alishahi, Modjgan, 2020. "COVID-19 Pounds: Quarantine and Weight Gain," MPRA Paper 103074, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Belot, Michèle & James, Jonathan & Spiteri, Jonathan, 2020. "Facilitating healthy dietary habits: An experiment with a low income population," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    6. Shiyong Liu & Konstantinos P Triantis & Li Zhao & Youfa Wang, 2018. "Capturing multi-stage fuzzy uncertainties in hybrid system dynamics and agent-based models for enhancing policy implementation in health systems research," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(4), pages 1-25, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    obesity; health risk; subjective expectations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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