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Overweight in Adolescents: Implications for Health Expenditures

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

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13488.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13488.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2007
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    Publication status: published as Monheit, Alan C. & Vistnes, Jessica P. & Rogowski, Jeannette A., 2009. "Overweight in adolescents: Implications for health expenditures," Economics and Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 55-63, March.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13488
    Note: HE
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal Employment and Overweight Children," NBER Working Papers 8770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    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. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Michael Grossman, 2005. "Education and Nonmarket Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 11582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Dalton Conley & Rebecca Glauber, 2005. "Gender, Body Mass and Economic Status," NBER Working Papers 11343, 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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