Obesity and Health-Related Decisions: An Empirical Model of The Determinants of Weight Status

44 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2014

See all articles by Leonardo Fabio Morales

Leonardo Fabio Morales

Central Bank of Colombia

Penny Gordon-Larsen

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Carolina Population Center

David K. Guilkey

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 1, 2014

Abstract

Using Add Health, a very comprehensive longitudinal data set of teenagers and young adults in the United States, we estimate a structural dynamic model of the determinants of obesity. In addition to including many of the well-recognized endogenous factors mentioned in the literature as obesity determinants, i.e., physical activity, smoking, a proxy for food consumption, and childbearing, we also model the residential location as a choice variable, relevant to the young- to middle-aged adult, as a major component. This allows us to control for an individual’s self-selection into communities which possess the types of amenities in the built environment which in turn affect their behaviors such as physical activity and fast food consumption. We specify reduced form equations for all these endogenous demand decisions, together with an obesity structural equation. The whole system of equations is jointly estimated by a semi-parametric full information log-likelihood method that allows for a general pattern of correlation in the errors across equations. Simulations are then used to allow us to quantify the effects of these endogenous factors on the probability of obesity. A key …finding is that controlling for residential self-selection has important substantive implications. To our knowledge, this has not been yet documented within a full information maximum likelihood framework.

Keywords: Health Production, Public Health, Urban Analysis

JEL Classification: I12, I14, R52

Suggested Citation

Morales, Leonardo Fabio and Gordon-Larsen, Penny and Guilkey, David K., Obesity and Health-Related Decisions: An Empirical Model of The Determinants of Weight Status (December 1, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2532479 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2532479

Leonardo Fabio Morales (Contact Author)

Central Bank of Colombia ( email )

Carrera 7 #14-78
3551 de Bogotá
Colombia

Penny Gordon-Larsen

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Carolina Population Center ( email )

CB# 8120, University Square
123 West Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, 27599-2524
United States

David K. Guilkey

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Economics ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States
919-966-2385 (Phone)
919-966-4986 (Fax)

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