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My body is fat and my wallet is thin: The link between weight perceptions, weight control and income

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  • Johnston, D.W.
  • Lordan, G.

Abstract

This paper explores why the poor are more likely to be overweight and obese than the rich. The main aim is to better understand the mechanisms underlying the income-obesity relationship so that effective policy interventions can be developed. Our approach involves analysing data on approximately 9,000 overweight British adults from between 1997 and 2002. We estimate the effect of income on the probability that an overweight individual correctly recognises their overweight status and the effect of income on the probability that an overweight individual attempts to lose weight. Our work finds that low-income individuals are more likely to both misperceive that they are a healthy weight and fail to address their unhealthy weight. Both of these effects are higher for males than females. For example, it is estimated that overweight low-income males are 15%-points less likely to recognize their overweight status than overweight high-income males, and that after controlling for weight perceptions, overweight low-income males are 10%-points less likely to be trying to lose weight. An implication of these results is that more public education on what constitutes overweight and the dangers associated with being overweight is needed, especially in low income neighbourhoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Johnston, D.W. & Lordan, G., 2012. "My body is fat and my wallet is thin: The link between weight perceptions, weight control and income," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:12/27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Weekly Roundup 194: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web!
      by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2012-11-27 10:59:06

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    Keywords

    Obesity; Overweight; Weight Control; Weight Misperceptions;

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