Working Papers, Department of Economics, Lund University
No 2009:3:
More equal but heavier: A longitudinal analysis of incomerelated obesity inequalities in an adult Swedish cohort
Åsa Ljungvall ()
and UlfG Gerdtham ()
Abstract: Using longitudinal data over a 17 year period for a
Swedish cohort aged 2068 in 1980/81, this study analyses incomerelated
inequalities in obesity. By use of the concentration index and
decomposition techniques we answer the following questions: 1) Does obesity
inequality favour or disfavour the poor? 2) What factors explain this
inequality at different points in time? 3) How can the pattern of
inequality over time be explained? We find that among females, inequalities
in obesity favour the rich, but the estimated inequality declines over
time. Income and marital status are the main driving forces behind obesity
inequality, and income explains the majority of the declined obesity
inequality over time. The results indicate that the main reason for the
reduced obesity inequality is increased obesity prevalence, because in
absolute terms obesity has increased uniformly across income groups. Thus
we conclude that the reduced inequality is not due to any health policy
success. Since the income elasticity of obesity is the individual most
important contributor to the observed inequality, policies directed towards
this factor might be the most effective. Similar trends are found for
males, although less pronounced. This should be taken into account when
evaluating obesity reducing policies.
Keywords: obesity; income; inequality; ageing; women; concentration index; decomposition; Oaxaca; panel data; (follow links to similar papers)
JELCodes: I12; I18; (follow links to similar papers)
36 pages, March 9, 2009
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 This paper is published as:

Ljungvall, Åsa and UlfG Gerdtham, (2010), 'More equal but heavier: A longitudinal analysis of incomerelated obesity inequalities in an adult Swedish cohort', Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 70, No. 2, pages 221231
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