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Calories, obesity and health in OECD countries

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Theoretical models suggest that decisions about diet, weight and health status are endogenous within a utility maximization framework. In this article, we model these behavioural relationships in a fixed-effect panel setting using a simultaneous equation system, with a view to determining whether economic variables can explain the trends in calorie consumption, obesity and health in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries and the large differences among the countries. The empirical model shows that progress in medical treatment and health expenditure mitigates mortality from diet-related diseases, despite rising obesity rates. While the model accounts for endogeneity and serial correlation, results are affected by data limitations.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Statistics,University of Bologna, I-40126 Bologna, Italy 2: Department of Agricultural and Food Economics,University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AR, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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