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The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults

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  • Inas Rashad
  • Michael Grossman
  • Shin-Yi Chou

Abstract

The increased prevalence of obesity in the United States stresses the pressing need for answers as to why this rapid rise has occurred. This paper employs micro-level data from the First, Second, and Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to determine the effects that various state-level variables have on body mass index and obesity. These variables, which include the per capita number of restaurants, the gasoline tax, the cigarette tax, and clean indoor air laws, display many of the expected effects on obesity and explain a substantial amount of its trend. These findings control for individual-level measures of household income, years of formal schooling completed, and marital status.

Suggested Citation

  • Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2005. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," NBER Working Papers 11584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11584
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    2. Tomas Philipson, 2001. "The world-wide growth in obesity: an economic research agenda," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(1), pages 1-7.
    3. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    4. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
    5. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
    6. Anonymous, 1999. "America's Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33604, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    7. Ippolito, Pauline M & Mathios, Alan D, 1995. "Information and Advertising: The Case of Fat Consumption in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 91-95, May.
    8. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    9. Naik, Narayan Y & Moore, Michael J, 1996. "Habit Formation and Intertemporal Substitution in Individual Food Consumption," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 321-328, May.
    10. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1989:79:8:975-981_6 is not listed on IDEAS
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    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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