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Projecting the Effect of Changes in Smoking and Obesity on Future Life Expectancy in the United States

  • Samuel H. Preston
  • Andrew Stokes
  • Neil K. Mehta
  • Bochen Cao
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    We project the effects of declining smoking and increasing obesity on mortality in the United States over the period 2010-2040. Data on cohort behavioral histories are integrated into these projections. Future distributions of body mass indices are projected using transition matrices applied to the initial distribution in 2010. In addition to projections of current obesity, we project distributions of obesity when cohorts were age 25. To these distributions we apply death rates by current and age-25 obesity status observed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-2006. Projections of the effects of smoking are based on observed relations between cohort smoking patterns and cohort death rates from lung cancer. We find that both changes in smoking and in obesity are expected to have large effects on mortality. For males, the reductions in smoking have larger effects than the rise in obesity throughout the projection period. By 2040, male life expectancy at age 40 is expected to have gained 0.92 years from the combined effects. Among women, however, the two sets of effects largely offset one another throughout the projection period, with a small gain of 0.26 years expected by 2040.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18407.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2012
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    Publication status: published as Demography201351:246 DOI: 10.1007/s13524-013-0246-9 Projecting the Effect of Changes in Smoking and Obesity on Future Life Expectancy in the United States Samuel H. Preston1 , Andrew Stokes1, Neil K. Mehta2 and Bochen Cao1
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18407
    Note: HC
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    1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2007. "Current and Future Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity in the United States," NBER Working Papers 13181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Charles L. Baum & Shin-Yi Chou, 2011. "The Socio-Economic Causes of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 17423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Neil Mehta & Virginia Chang, 2009. "Mortality attributable to obesity among middle-aged adults in the united states," Demography, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 851-872, November.
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