Revisiting the 'Fat and Jolly' Hypothesis: Socio-Environmental Determinants of Obesity and Depression in Spain
Posted: 29 Feb 2008
Date Written: September 2006
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: Suggested Citation