Economic Growth and Obesity: Findings of an Obesity Kuznets Curve
12 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2014
Date Written: 2013
Simon Kuznets’ (1955) hypothesis that as a country develops, a natural cycle develops where inequality first increases, then decreases, has become known at the Kuznets curve. This pattern has also been applied to the environment, an ‘Environmental Kuznets curve’, showing that as development occurs, pollution first increase; then decreases because people value clean air. We expand the Kuznets curve to an ‘Obesity Kuznets curve’; as incomes rise, resources become available to buy more food. As such, people consume more calories and obesity rates increase. However, as incomes continue to rise, personal health becomes a more valued asset and people decrease their obesity levels (increasing their health levels). We find evidence of an Obesity Kuznets curve for white females. In addition we find that as income inequality increases obesity rates fall.
Keywords: Obesity, Kutznets Curve, Body Mass Index, Health Outcomes
JEL Classification: I1, D1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation