About 30% of Americans are currently obese, which is roughly a 100% increase from 25 years ago. Public health officials have consequently become alarmed because recent research indicates that societal costs of obesity now exceed those of cigarette smoking and alcoholism. Cigarette taxes may have exacerbated the prevalence of obesity. In 1964, the US Surgeon General issued its first report relating smoking and health, and since that time, federal and state governments have increased cigarette taxes in a successful effort to reduce cigarette smoking. However, because cigarette smoking and obesity seem inversely related, cigarette taxes may have simultaneously increased obesity. This paper examines the effects of cigarette costs on BMI and obesity and finds that they have significant positive effects. This paper attempts to reconcile conflicting evidence in the literature by controlling more carefully for correlation with state-specific time trends using panel data. Results indicate that the net benefit to society of increasing cigarette taxes may not be as large as previously thought, though this research in no way concludes that they should be decreased to prompt weight loss.
"Philipson, 2001). Therefore, understanding the determinants of obesity is subject to increasing research in empirical literature (Baum, 2009). While ample studies link globalization, socio-economic development, and sedentary lifestyles to obesity (e.g. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The antecedents of the 'weights of nations' have been in the center of theoretical and empirical discussion over the past decades. In this research, we contribute to extant studies by investigating the effect of general intelligence, measured by nation IQ, on the Body Mass Indices (BMI) of male and female populations for 187 countries of the world. Our results suggest an inverted U-shaped link between intelligence and BMI. The results remain robust to a number of robustness checks such as controlling for urbanization, globalization and trade.
"Estimating the magnitude of the causal effect of smoking on weight is a non-trivial challenge. Many empirical studies have documented a negative association between cigarette consumption and BMI, although it is not clear what portion of this expected increase may be attributed to smoking reductions (Nonnemaker et al. 2009)."
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper examines the causal effect of smoking on body weight in Italy. We take advantage of the discontinuity in smoking habits introduced by the Italian smoking ban in 2005. Our estimates indicate that the ban reduced smoking intensity by half a cigarette per day and smoking participation rate by 2 percentage points. We estimate a significant effect on body weight of about 1 kg. Heterogeneous effects are also found, highlighting a smaller impact on men, employees and overweight and obese people. Most of the weight variations are attributed to quitting smoking, whereas reductions in cigarette consumption are not significant.
"If women spend more time at work they have less time to devote to cooking increasing fast-food consumption, which is generally faster and easier to cook. 7 BMI is also assumed to depend on (non-linear) age, marital status, education, income, and smoking behaviour (Chou et al., 2004; Rashad et al., 2006; Baum, 2009). In addition, bearing in mind the suggestions of Lakdawalla and Philipson (2009), we include in our analysis the number of hours worked (including overtime) and physical activity. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This work examines the role of fast-food consumption on body weight in the United Kingdom, by means of two recent waves from the British Household Panel Survey. We use quantile regression to examine whether increases in consumption of this unhealthy food category affect differently individuals located at selected quantiles of the body mass index distribution. Our results support some findings in the literature, but also point to new conclusions. Quantile regression estimates suggest that fast-food consumption affects individuals with higher body mass index more heavily, especially women. Irrespective of gender, we also find a negative and significant correlation between the price of take-away meals and snacks and weight. Some policy implications are discussed on the basis of our main results.
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