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Body weight and socio-economic determinants: quantile estimations from the British Household Panel Survey

Pieroni, Luca and Salmasi, Luca (2010): Body weight and socio-economic determinants: quantile estimations from the British Household Panel Survey.

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Abstract

This work examines the socio-economic determinants of body weight in the United Kingdom by means of two recent waves from the British Household Panel Survey. While the patterns of overweight and obesity have drawn economists’ interest in recent years, our main contribution is to examine the weight determinants on the conditional distribution of body weight across individuals. Are there differing socio-economic causes for gaining weight in highly overweight people compared with underweight ones? For instance, we examine whether reduction in smoking affects differently individuals located among the most and the least of the weight distributions. Our results for significant determinants support some findings in the literature, but also point to new conclusions. In many cases, quantile regression estimates are quite different from OLS regressions ones. Among obese people, our results reveal that they are less so as males do not spend extra-time at work or females increases physical activities. Furthermore, smoking cessation may lead to moderate effects on weight increases only for underweight and normalweight subjects but they are not significant for people affected by higher obesity prevalence rates.

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