Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 196
The rather small literature on obesity in developing countries mainly uses descriptive statistics and cross section analysis to focus on rising income levels as the source of rapidly increasing obesity rates. This paper uses a new panel dataset comprised of WHO and World Bank data for 126 low- and middle income countries to focus on rapid and urbanization as the main driver of rising obesity levels. The results of the fixed effects estimation suggest that urbanization and lifestyle changes associated with the 'Nutrition Transition' are responsible for the phenomenon. Moreover, time invariant effects such as tradition and culture account for the differences in overweight and obesity rates across countries. These findings raise new questions and open up paths for further research and can also lead to direct policy implications drawn from the 'Urban Agriculture' literature.