Does a Slump Really Make You Thinner? Finnish Micro-level Evidence 1978 -2002
This paper explores the relationship between obesity and economic conditions in Finland, using individual microdata from 1978 to 2002. The results reveal that an improvement in regional economic conditions measured by the employment-to-population ratio produces a decrease in obesity over the period of investigation, other things being equal. This effect arises from the decline in the height-adjusted weight of people who are deeply overweight, (BMI>35). In addition, the effect is strongest for the people in later middle age (aged 45-65). The incidence of obesity is unrelated to the regional growth rate. All in all, the Finnish evidence presented does not support the conclusions reported for the USA, according to which temporary economic slowdowns are good for health. In contrast, at least overweight increases during slumps.
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