Obesity and Health-Related Decisions: An Empirical Model of the Determinants of Weight Status across the Transition from Adolescence to Young Adulthood

Morales, Leonardo Fabio; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; & Guilkey, David K. (2016). Obesity and Health-Related Decisions: An Empirical Model of the Determinants of Weight Status across the Transition from Adolescence to Young Adulthood. Economics and Human Biology, 23, 46-62. PMCID: PMC5358100

Morales, Leonardo Fabio; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; & Guilkey, David K. (2016). Obesity and Health-Related Decisions: An Empirical Model of the Determinants of Weight Status across the Transition from Adolescence to Young Adulthood. Economics and Human Biology, 23, 46-62. PMCID: PMC5358100

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We estimate a structural dynamic model of the determinants of obesity. In addition to including many of the well-recognized endogenous factors mentioned in the literature as obesity determinants, we also model the individual's residential location as a choice variable, which is the main contribution of this paper to the literature. This allows us to control for an individual's self-selection into communities that possess the types of amenities in the built environment, which in turn affect their obesity-related behaviors such as physical activity (PA) and fast food consumption. We specify reduced form equations for a set of endogenous demand decisions, together with an obesity structural equation. The whole system of equations is jointly estimated by a semi-parametric full information log-likelihood method that allows for a general pattern of correlation in the errors across equations. Our model predicts a reduction in adult obesity of 7 percentage points as a result of a continued high level PA from adolescence into adulthood; a reduction of 0.7 (3) percentage points in adult obesity as a result of one standard deviation reduction in weekly fast food consumption for women (men); and a reduction of 0.02 (0.05) in adult obesity as a result of one standard deviation change in several neighborhood amenities for women (men). Another key finding is that controlling for residential self-selection has substantive implications. To our knowledge, this has not been yet documented within a full information maximum likelihood framework.




JOUR



Morales, Leonardo Fabio
Gordon-Larsen, Penny
Guilkey, David K.



2016


Economics and Human Biology

23


46-62








PMC5358100


9494

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