Marital Status and Body Weight Changes

Why do people want to lose weight? While this seems like an obvious question, it does merit answering. There are two major reasons: health concerns and appearance. Being obese increases the risk of suffering from many diseases (e.g.: diabetes). On the appearance side, individuals may experience social pressure to lose (or possibly gain) weight. Further,…

PE Requirements and Overweight Youth

Do state physical education (PE) requirement help to decrease the percentage of children and teens who are overweight? This is the question Cawley, Meyerhoefer and Newhouse investigate in their 2007 Health Economics paper. One would certainly not be surprised if PE requirements decrease the prevalence of obesity, but this may not be correct.  PE requirements…

Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity

A general result in the obesity literature, is that higher female labor participation rates lead to higher obesity rates in children. For instance, the 1996 Welfare Reform act (PRWORA) increased work requirements for low-income mothers and thus increased labor participation and likely childhood obesity. One question which has not been resolved yet thorough which mechanisms…

Marriage and Obesity

Are married people more likely to be obese than single individuals? More to the point, does being married cause obesity? Married individuals are generally older than never-married individuals and since age is correlated with obesity, there could be a spurious relationship between marriage and obesity. One may think that married individuals are not on the…

Too fat to work

The incapacity benefit system in the UK is intended to provide an income support for those unable to work.  Like any government program, many of the beneficiaries are in dire need of the money and are truly unable to work, but many other individuals who are able–but not inclined–to work have taken advantage of government…

Why are we Obese?

The simple answer for this is that calorie intake is higher than the number of calories burned. But why are people getting fatter? In which countries are people the fattest? This is the questioned tackle in a working paper by Sara Bleich and colleagues “Why is the Developed World Obese?” Obesity is a serious disease:…

Can poverty improve health?

A recent paper by Franco et al. (2007) claims that increased poverty may improve health (see also NPR’s Marketplace report). How is this possible? Lower income reduces excess food as well as cigarette consumption.  Further, poverty makes public transportation less affordable and individuals may substitute walking for taking the bus.  The authors study Cuba’s experience…