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Obesity under affluence varies by welfare regimes: the effect of fast food, insecurity, and inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Avner Offer

    (All Souls College, University of Oxford, OX1 4AL, UK)

  • Rachel Pechey

    (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, OX2 6PE, UK)

  • Stanley Ulijaszek

    (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, OX2 6PE, UK)

Abstract

Among affluent countries, those with market-liberal welfare regimes (which are also English-speaking) tend to have the highest prevalence of obesity. The impact of cheap, accessible high-energy food is often invoked in explanation. An alternative approach is that overeating is a response to stress, and that competition, uncertainty and inequality make market-liberal societies more stressful. This ecological regression meta-study pools 96 body-weight surveys from 11 countries c. 1994-2004. The fast-food ‘shock’ impact is found to work most strongly in market liberal countries. Economic insecurity, measured in several different ways, was almost twice as powerful, while the impact of inequality was weak, and went in the opposite direction.

Suggested Citation

  • Avner Offer & Rachel Pechey & Stanley Ulijaszek, 2010. "Obesity under affluence varies by welfare regimes: the effect of fast food, insecurity, and inequality," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _082, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:nuf:esohwp:_082
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/4401/offer82.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Romling, Cornelia & Qaim, Matin, 2011. "Direct and Indirect Determinants of Obesity: The Case of Indonesia," Discussion Papers 108350, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    2. Darshan Zala, 2013. "Challenging The Spirit Level: Is There Really a Relationship between Inequality and Obesity?," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 232-245, June.
    3. Staudigel, Matthias, 2016. "A soft pillow for hard times? Economic insecurity, food intake and body weight in Russia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 198-212.
    4. Hruschka, Daniel J. & Brewis, Alexandra A., 2013. "Absolute wealth and world region strongly predict overweight among women (ages 18–49) in 360 populations across 36 developing countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 337-344.
    5. Ferda Halicioglu, 2013. "Dynamics of obesity in Finland," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 40(5), pages 644-657, October.
    6. Eric B. Schneider, 2014. "Prices and production: agricultural supply response in fourteenth-century England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(1), pages 66-91, February.
    7. Staudigel, Matthias, 2015. "A soft pillow for hard times: Effects of economic insecurity on body weight in transitional Russia," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205189, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    8. Chavas, Jean-Paul, 2013. "On the microeconomics of food and malnutrition under endogenous discounting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 80-96.
    9. Smith, Trenton G. & Stillman, Steven & Craig, Stuart, 2017. "'Rational Overeating' in a Feast-or-Famine World: Economic Insecurity and the Obesity Epidemic," IZA Discussion Papers 10954, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Rafael Moreira Claro & Vargas Hernandez & Joel Alberto & Satoru Shimokawa & Euna Han & Sharada Keats & Steve Wiggins, 2015. "The Rising Cost of a Healthy Diet – Changing Relative prices of Foods in High- Income and Emerging Economies," Working Papers id:7250, eSocialSciences.
    11. Costa-Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Jiménez-Rubio, Dolores, 2014. "Income inequalities in unhealthy life styles in England and Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 66-75.
    12. Römling, Cornelia & Qaim, Matin, 2011. "Direct and Indirect Determinants of Obesity: The Case of Indonesia," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 70, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    13. Conchita D'Ambrosio & Nicholas Rohde, 2014. "The Distribution of Economic Insecurity: Italy and the U.S. over the Great Recession," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 33-52, May.
    14. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:70-85 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:zbw:gdec11:aglobalfooddiscussionpapersx4 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Currie, Phillippa & Smith, Trenton G. & Stillman, Steven, 2014. "Is Job Insecurity Making Australians Fat? Evidence from Panel Data on Perceived Risk of Job Loss," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170720, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    17. Komlos, John & Brabec, Marek, 2011. "The trend of BMI values of US adults by deciles, birth cohorts 1882-1986 stratified by gender and ethnicity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 234-250, July.
    18. repec:eee:joecas:v:8:y:2011:i:1:p:165-192 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Ulijaszek, Stanley & Schwekendiek, Daniel, 2013. "Intercontinental differences in overweight of adopted Koreans in the United States and Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 345-350.
    20. Costa-Font, Joan & Mas, Núria, 2016. "‘Globesity’? The effects of globalization on obesity and caloric intake," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 121-132.
    21. Khan, Shumaisa S. & Timotijevic, Lada & Newton, Rachel & Coutinho, Daniela & Llerena, José Luis & Ortega, Santiago & Benighaus, Ludger & Hofmaier, Christian & Xhaferri, Zamira & de Boer, Alie & Urban,, 2016. "The framing of innovation among European research funding actors: Assessing the potential for ‘responsible research and innovation’ in the food and health domain," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 78-87.
    22. Avner Offer, 2012. "A Warrant for Pain: Caveat Emptor vs. the Duty of Care in American Medicine, c. 1970-2010," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _102, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    23. Nicholas Rohde & Kam Ki Tang & D.S. Prasada Rao, 2014. "Distributional Characteristics of Income Insecurity in the U.S., Germany, and Britain," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 159-176, May.
    24. Zeljko, Hrvojka Marija & Škarić-Jurić, Tatjana & Narančić, Nina Smolej & Barešić, Ana & Tomas, Željka & Petranović, Matea Zajc & Miličić, Jasna & Salihović, Marijana Peričić & Janićijević, Branka, 2013. "Age trends in prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in Roma minority population of Croatia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 326-336.
    25. Egger, Garry & Swinburn, Boyd & Amirul Islam, F.M., 2012. "Economic growth and obesity: An interesting relationship with world-wide implications," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 147-153.

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