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Overweight in Adolescents: Implications for Health Expenditures

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  • Alan C. Monheit
  • Jessica P. Vistnes
  • Jeannette A. Rogowski

Abstract

We consider two compelling research questions raised by the increased prevalence of overweight among adolescents. First, what factors explain variation in adolescent bodyweight and the likelihood of being overweight? Next, do overweight adolescents incur greater health care expenditures compared to those of normal weight? We address the former question by examining the contribution of individual characteristics, economic factors, parental and family attributes, and neighborhood characteristics to variation in these bodyweight outcomes. For the second question, we estimate a two-part, generalized linear model of health spending. Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, our econometric analyses indicate that adolescent bodyweight and the likelihood of being overweight are strongly associated with parental bodyweight, parental education, parental smoking behavior, and neighborhood attributes such as the availability of fresh food markets and convenience/snack food outlets, and neighborhood safety and material deprivation. Our expenditure model indicates that overweight females have annual expenditures that exceed those of normal weight by nearly $800 with part of the disparity explained by differences in mental health expenditures. We use both sets of empirical results to draw implications for policies to address adolescent overweight.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan C. Monheit & Jessica P. Vistnes & Jeannette A. Rogowski, 2007. "Overweight in Adolescents: Implications for Health Expenditures," NBER Working Papers 13488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13488
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman, Michael, 2006. "Education and Nonmarket Outcomes," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    2. 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.
    3. Dalton Conley & Rebecca Glauber, 2005. "Gender, Body Mass and Economic Status," NBER Working Papers 11343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Shin-Yi Chou & Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman, 2008. "Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 599-618, November.
    5. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2003. "Economic perspectives on childhood obesity," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 30-48.
    6. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-504, May.
    7. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
    8. Donna Ginther & Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Neighborhood Attributes as Determinants of Children's Outcomes: How Robust Are the Relationships?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 603-642.
    9. Douglas Coate, 1983. "The Relationship Between Diet, Parent"s Fatness, and Obesity in Children and Adolescents," NBER Working Papers 1072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. John Cawley, 2000. "Body Weight and Women's Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 7841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lisa M. Powell & Frank J. Chaloupka, 2011. "Economic Contextual Factors and Child Body Mass Index," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 127-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Powell, Lisa M. & Bao, Yanjun, 2009. "Food prices, access to food outlets and child weight," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 64-72, March.
    3. Powell, Lisa M., 2009. "Fast food costs and adolescent body mass index: Evidence from panel data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 963-970, September.

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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