Revisiting the 'Fat and Jolly' Hypothesis: Socio-Environmental Determinants of Obesity and Depression in Spain

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Joan Costa-Font

Joan Costa-Font

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Joan Gil

University of Barcelona

Date Written: September 2006

Abstract

The hypothesis of the reciprocal determination of obesity and depression (OD) epidemics, contrasts with the anecdotal wisdom of a person being 'jolly and fat', and calls for a better understanding of any underpinning socio-environmental determinants. This paper deals with the influence of socio-environmental factors (mainly social and personal interactions) in explaining the empirical association between OD. We draw upon a unique representative health survey from Spain; a country with a growing prevalence of both OD. We use instrumental variable methods to deal with reverse OD association and the existence of omitted confounding variables as common predictors. We find that in explaining the OD association, socio-environmental factors and especially family interactions appear to play a key intermediate effect rather than socio-economic position. Finally, we find evidence of the significant gender differences and a particular effect of health-related lifestyles behind the OD association.

JEL Classification: I12, I18 and I19

Suggested Citation

Costa-Font, Joan and Gil, Joan, Revisiting the 'Fat and Jolly' Hypothesis: Socio-Environmental Determinants of Obesity and Depression in Spain (September 2006). Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 4, Issue 3, pp. 513-542, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1096977 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwl018

Joan Costa-Font (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://joancostaifont.org/

Joan Gil

University of Barcelona ( email )

Department of Economic Theory
Faculty of Economics
Barcelona, Barcelona 08034
Spain

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