Does Economic Insecurity Cause Weight Gain Among Canadian Labor Force Participants?

22 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2018

See all articles by Barry Watson

Barry Watson

University of New Brunswick - Saint John - Faculty of Business

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

The National Population Health Survey (NPHS) suggests that for labor force participants age 25 to 64, the prevalence of self‐reported obesity in Canada has increased from 16 percent in 1998 to 23 percent in 2008. Using six cycles of NPHS data (1998–2009), I explore Canada's obesity dilemma by considering the effect of economic insecurity—measured as the probability of an individual experiencing a severe negative economic shock. As an identification strategy, a fixed effects model is employed to control for unobserved time‐invariant heterogeneity and a set of instruments based on an individual's economic environment are specified in order to isolate causality. Results suggest that for males age 25 to 64, a 1 percent increase in economic insecurity is predicted to increase their body mass index (BMI) by 0.10 points. For females age 25 to 64, the association between economic insecurity and BMI is statistically insignificant at conventional confidence levels.

Keywords: economic insecurity, obesity, panel data, self‐medication, stress

JEL Classification: I12, I31, I32

Suggested Citation

Watson, Barry, Does Economic Insecurity Cause Weight Gain Among Canadian Labor Force Participants? (June 2018). Review of Income and Wealth, Vol. 64, Issue 2, pp. 406-427, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3189542 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/roiw.12293

Barry Watson (Contact Author)

University of New Brunswick - Saint John - Faculty of Business ( email )

100 Tucker Park Road
Philip W. Oland Hall
Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 4L5
Canada

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