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Effects of Economic Inequality on Obesity

19 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2019

See all articles by Wisdom Dogbe

Wisdom Dogbe

Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC)



Studies in developed countries suggest a link between socioeconomic status with individual weights. In Ghana, the rate of reduction in poverty continues to decline as the gap in poverty between urban and rural areas increase. However, the impact of such an economic inequality on obesity in Ghana has not yet been studied. As such, the goal of the current study is to explain the link between poverty and obesity in Ghana. Data collected by the Ghana Statistical Service from a randomly selected participants (N = 12,328) from a nationwide household survey (GLSS7) designed to generate information on living conditions in Ghana were used for the analyses. The GLSS7 collected detailed information from households, including their socioeconomic characteristics, health, access to financial services and asset ownership. Bivariate probit model was used to estimate the impact of poverty on participants' weight measured by BMI. Our results suggest a strong negative relationship between poverty and overweight/obesity (p<0.00). The variables that cause obesity and poverty were found to be inter-linked. In addition, the impact of poverty on obesity varied among different weight groups mediated by different socioeconomic factors. Different policies should be targeted at the poor and rich segments of the society when formulating policies that aim to reduce obesity.

Funding Statement: The authors state: "No funding was received to support the writing of this paper."

Declaration of Interests: The authors declare they have no competing or conflicting interests.

Ethics Approval Statement: The authors declare: "Ethical approval was not required for this work as no new empirical data were collected."

Keywords: Obesity, Poverty, Bivariate probit, Ghana, Economic inequality

Suggested Citation

Dogbe, Wisdom, Effects of Economic Inequality on Obesity (March 6, 2019). Available at SSRN:

Wisdom Dogbe (Contact Author)

Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) ( email )

C. Jordi Girona, 31
Barcelona, 08034

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