The Effect of Air Pollution on Body Weight and Obesity: Evidence from China

52 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2019

See all articles by Olivier Deschenes

Olivier Deschenes

University of California, Santa Barbara - College of Letters & Science - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Huixia Wang

Hunan University

Si Wang

Hunan University

Peng Zhang

Hong Kong Polytechnic University - School of Accounting and Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 9, 2019

Abstract

We provide the first study on estimating the causal effect of air pollution on body weight. Using the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), which provided detailed longitudinal health and socioeconomic information for 13,226 adult individuals over 1989-2011, we find significantly positive effect of air pollution, instrumented by thermal inversions, on body mass index (BMI). Specifically, a 1 µg/m3 (1.59%) increase in average PM2.5 concentrations in the past 12 months increases the BMI by 0.31%, and further increases the overweight and obesity rates by 0.89 and 0.19 percentage points respectively. Our paper identifies a new cause of obesity, and shed light on the morbidity cost of air pollution.

Keywords: Weight gain, obesity, air pollution, China

JEL Classification: I12, I15, Q53

Suggested Citation

Deschenes, Olivier and Wang, Huixia and Wang, Si and Zhang, Peng, The Effect of Air Pollution on Body Weight and Obesity: Evidence from China (March 9, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3349877 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3349877

Olivier Deschenes

University of California, Santa Barbara - College of Letters & Science - Department of Economics ( email )

UC Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Huixia Wang

Hunan University ( email )

Si Wang

Hunan University

Peng Zhang (Contact Author)

Hong Kong Polytechnic University - School of Accounting and Finance ( email )

Hung Hom
Kowloon
Hong Kong

HOME PAGE: http://pengzhang.weebly.com

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