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Working Yourself to Death? The Relationship Between Work Hours and Obesity

  • Courtemanche, Charles

Work hours may affect obesity if reduced leisure time decreases exercise and causes substitution from meals prepared at home to fast food and pre-prepared processed food. Additional work by adults may also impact child weight by reducing parental supervision. I find that a rise in work hours increases one's weight and, to a lesser extent, the weight of one's spouse. Mothers', but not fathers', work hours affect child weight. I also find that a rise in work hours is associated with a decrease in exercise and an increase in purchasing food prepared away from home. My estimates imply that changes in labor force participation account for 6% and 10% of the growth in adult and childhood obesity in recent decades.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/25324/1/MPRA_paper_25324.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 25324.

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Date of creation: 10 Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25324
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  1. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2008. "Maternal employment and adolescent development," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 958-983, October.
  2. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 7423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," IZA Discussion Papers 711, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nakosteen, Robert A & Zimmer, Michael A, 2001. "Spouse Selection and Earnings: Evidence of Marital Sorting," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 201-13, April.
  7. 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.
  8. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2009. "The connection between maternal employment and childhood obesity: inspecting the mechanisms," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 227-255, September.
  9. 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.
  10. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2007. "Labor Supply and Weight," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
  11. 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.
  12. Courtemanche, Charles, 2009. "Rising cigarette prices and rising obesity: Coincidence or unintended consequence?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 781-798, July.
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