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Socioeconomic variation in the relationship between obesity and life expectancy




We investigate the relationship between obesity and life expectancy, and whether or not this relationship varies by socioeconomic status (SES). The underlying model is based on the "Pathways to health" framework in which SES affects health by modifying the relationship between lifestyles and health. We use data from the British Health and Lifestyle Survey (1984-1985) and the longitudinal follow-up in June 2009, and run parametric Gompertz survival models to investigate the association between obesity and life expectancy, also accounting for interactions between obesity and both age and SES. Generally we find that obesity is negatively associated with survival, and that SES is positively associated with survival, in both men and women. There is no evidence of interactions between obesity and SES in predicting survival in men, but these interactions are present in women. Obesity is associated with lower survival in women except for older women in higher SES groups, who have a longer predicted survival than women of normal weight in this group.

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  • Jonas Minet Kinge & Stephen Morris, 2012. "Socioeconomic variation in the relationship between obesity and life expectancy," Discussion Papers 712, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:712

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Birch, Stephen & Jerrett, Mike & Eyles, John, 2000. "Heterogeneity in the determinants of health and illness: the example of socioeconomic status and smoking," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 307-317, July.
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    More about this item


    obesity; life expectancy; socioeconomic status; survival analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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