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The Social Dimensions of Obesity

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The social impacts of obesity are addressed in this chapter in terms of the concentration of obesity in certain population groups and of the consequences of obesity on labour market outcomes. The first part of the chapter provides evidence of disparities in obesity along demographic characteristics, such as age and gender, as well as social dimensions, such as education, socio‐economic status and ethnicity. Differences in the likelihood of overweight and obesity among groups defined along those dimensions are presented and discussed, and comparisons across OECD countries are made in the size of social disparities in obesity. Evidence is also presented of social disparities by socio‐economic status and ethnicity in children, based on data from four OECD countries. The second part of the chapter contains a comprehensive review of the existing evidence of disparities in labour market outcomes between the obese and people of normal weight. The final section presents ample evidence of a disadvantage suffered, particularly by obese women, in employment, earnings and productivity.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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