An interdisciplinary analysis of obesity: theory and empirical evidence

Hansstein, Francesca (2012) An interdisciplinary analysis of obesity: theory and empirical evidence, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Economia e statistica agroalimentare, 24 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/4925.
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The dissertation is structured in three parts. The first part compares US and EU agricultural policies since the end of WWII. There is not enough evidence for claiming that agricultural support has a negative impact on obesity trends. I discuss the possibility of an exchange in best practices to fight obesity. There are relevant economic, societal and legal differences between the US and the EU. However, partnerships against obesity are welcomed. The second part presents a socio-ecological model of the determinants of obesity. I employ an interdisciplinary model because it captures the simultaneous influence of several variables. Obesity is an interaction of pre-birth, primary and secondary socialization factors. To test the significance of each factor, I use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health. I compare the average body mass index across different populations. Differences in means are statistically significant. In the last part I use the National Survey of Children Health. I analyze the effect that family characteristics, built environment, cultural norms and individual factors have on the body mass index (BMI). I use Ordered Probit models and I calculate the marginal effects. I use State and ethnicity fixed effects to control for unobserved heterogeneity. I find that southern US States tend have on average a higher probability of being obese. On the ethnicity side, White Americans have a lower BMI respect to Black Americans, Hispanics and American Indians Native Islanders; being Asian is associated with a lower probability of being obese. In neighborhoods where trust level and safety perception are higher, children are less overweight and obese. Similar results are shown for higher level of parental income and education. Breastfeeding has a negative impact. Higher values of measures of behavioral disorders have a positive and significant impact on obesity, as predicted by the theory.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Hansstein, Francesca
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze economiche e statistiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
childhood obesity, public health
Data di discussione
31 Maggio 2012

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