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

60 Pages Posted: 21 May 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

Abstract

We provide the first study estimating the causal effect of air pollution on body weight. Using the China Health and Nutrition Survey, which provides detailed longitudinal health and socioeconomic information for 13,226 adult individuals over 1989-2011, we find significant positive effects 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 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 sheds new light on the morbidity cost of air pollution.

Keywords: air pollution, obesity, weight gain, 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. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12296. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3390286

Olivier Deschenes (Contact Author)

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

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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