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Body Mass Index and the measurement of obesity

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  • David (David Patrick) Madden

Abstract

This paper proposes a new method of measuring obesity using Body Mass Index (BMI) data. Conventional measures which simply count the number of individuals with BMI in excess of an upper limit ignore the extent by which individuals exceed BMI limits and also the increased risk ratios for various conditions associated very high levels of BMI. This paper suggests that measures currently used in the poverty literature can be usefully applied to measure obesity and provide us with measures which may be more relevant from a policy perspective. The approach is applied to data for Ireland.

Suggested Citation

  • David (David Patrick) Madden, 2006. "Body Mass Index and the measurement of obesity," Working Papers 200627, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200627
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/782
    File Function: First version, 2006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nolan, Brian & Gannon, Brenda & Layte, Richard & Watson, Dorothy & Whelan, Christopher T. & Williams, James, 2002. "Monitoring Poverty Trends in Ireland: Results from the 2000 Living in Ireland survey," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS45.
    2. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-764, July.
    3. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    4. David Madden & Fiona Smith, 2000. "Poverty in Ireland, 1987-1994 - A Stochastic Dominance Approach," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 31(3), pages 187-214.
    5. Anna Sanz De Galdeano, 2005. "The Obesity Epidemic in Europe," CSEF Working Papers 143, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    6. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-231, March.
    7. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
    8. Bleichrodt, Han & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2006. "A welfare economics foundation for health inequality measurement," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 945-957, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gannon, Brenda & Layte, Richard & McGregor, Pat & Madden, David & Nolan, Anne & O'Neill, Ciaran & Smith, Samantha, 2007. "The Provision and Use of Health Services, Health Inequalities and Health and Social Gain," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number BMI196 edited by Nolan, Brian.
    2. Laudicella, Mauro & Cookson, Richard & Jones, Andrew M. & Rice, Nigel, 2009. "Health care deprivation profiles in the measurement of inequality and inequity: An application to GP fundholding in the English NHS," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1048-1061, December.
    3. Bhagowalia, Priya & Chen, Susan E. & Masters, William A., 2011. "Effects and determinants of mild underweight among preschool children across countries and over time," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 66-77, January.
    4. Priya Bhagowalia & Susan E. Chen & William A. Masters, 2008. "The Distribution Of Child Nutritional Status Across Countries And Over Time," Working Papers 08-04, Purdue University, College of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Obesity; Body Mass Index; Body mass index; Obesity--Statistics;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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