Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/35599
Authors: 
Frijters, Paul
Barón, Juan D.
Year of Publication: 
2009
Series/Report no.: 
IZA discussion papers 4149
Abstract: 
A recent debate in the medical literature has arisen around the mortality effects of obesity. Whereas it has been argued that the obese die younger, the data that have become available do not immediately support this. This potentially undermines the hypothesis that modern life with its physical ease and cheap food would eventually make us die younger, and undermines the notion that economic growth comes with health warnings. We revisit this debate going over the mortality effects of obesity, using the US Health and Retirement Study. Whilst we find that obesity leads to chronic diseases that reduce length of life, we also find that the obese survive strokes and lung disease more often than the non-obese. A possible explanation is that the obese are under greater medical scrutiny, meaning that lung disease is more quickly diagnosed. This result holds when controlling for smoking and the long-term effects of obesity.
Subjects: 
Obesity
longitudinal data
mortality
smoking
reverse-causality
JEL: 
I10
I18
C23
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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