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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. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2007. "Labor Supply and Weight," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
  5. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," NBER Working Papers 9468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change," Working Papers 9912, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  7. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Maternal Employment and Adolescent Development," NBER Working Papers 10691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2006. "The Connection Between Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: Inspecting the Mechanisms," Caepr Working Papers 2006-020, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  12. 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.
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