Economic Preferences and Obesity in a Low

Report
Economic Preferences and
Obesity in a Low-Income
African-American Community
Angela de Oliveira, Tammy Leonard, Kerem Shuval, Celette
Skinner, James Murdoch, Catherine Eckel
Health and the Project
• Unique population with high policy interest
• Multifaceted data collection effort
• Interdisciplinary research team: Health researchers with economists,
psychologists
• Many different measures related to well-being
•
•
•
•
Physical environment
Household survey
Health behavior
Incentivized preference measures
•  OPPORTUNITY to study obesity
• We ask: Why is obesity higher among low-income African
Americans?
Obesity and Preferences
• Economists believe behavior is driven by underlying
preferences
1. Risk aversion: avoiding risk motivates safe, cautious
behavior
2. Patience: a long-run perspective motivates behavior that
makes future outcomes better
• Both lead to healthier behavioral choices
Obesity
BMI Level
Number of
subjects
% of
population
Under or
normal
weight
48
30.8
US
population
(approx)
29.5
Overweight
Obese 1
Obese 2
37
27
21
23.7
17.3
13.5
35.2
19.8
9.2
Obese 3
23
14.7
6.3
Risk Measure
5
Valencia 2011 Trust
Risk Preferences
35
30
% of Participants
25
20
15
10
5
0
40/40
30/60
20/80
10/100
Gambles
Valencia 2011 Trust
0/120
-10/130
6
Time Preferences
Patience variable
Percent
Never patient
(0 patient decisions)
41.7
Somewhat patient
(1-3 patient decisions)
45.5
Very patient
(4-6 patient decisions)
12.8
7
Valencia 2011 Trust
Data
• 496 participants completed household survey
• 198 of these completed incentivized tasks; 156 complete data
• Primary dependent variable: Obesity
• Secondary dependent variables:
• Exercise: 38% yes
• TV: Mean = 5.7 hours/wk
• Data analysis strategy: predict obesity category
• Primary independent variables: Risk tolerance, Patience
• Controls: Gender, race, age, income, marital status, children,
health insurance, unemployed, self-reported health status
Results
• Risk:
• Positively related to Obesity
• Positively related to Exercise
• Positively related to TV
• Patience:
• No relationship to Obesity
• Positively related to Exercise
• No relationship to TV
Conclusion
• Risk tolerance is related to obesity, despite also being related to
exercise; Sedentary behavior may play a more important role
• No relationship between patience and obesity for this population
• In another study, patience is related to exercise.
• Participants who believe their health is good are MORE likely to be
obese, but also to exercise.
• Policy implications:
• Efforts to reduce risk and encourage physical activity may reduce
obesity
• Information may impact perceptions of future consequences of
unhealthy behaviors
• Direct measurement and examination of economic preferences might
lead to a more targeted approach at applying behavioral economic
concepts to health issues.
Related papers
• Leonard, Tammy, Kerem Shuval, Angela de Oliveira, Celette Sugg
Skinner, Catherine Eckel, James C. Murdoch. (2012) “Health
Behavior and Behavioral Economics: Economic Preferences and
Physical Activity Stages of Change in a Low-Income African American
Community.” Forthcoming, American Journal of Health Promotion,
forthcoming.
• Shuval, K., Leonard, T., Skinner, C., Caughy, M., Kohl, H., Murdoch,
J.C. (2012). “Sedentary Behaviors And Obesity Among A Low Income,
Ethnic Minority Population.” Journal of Physical Activity and Health,
In Press.
• Leonard, T.C.M., Caughy, M.O., Mays, J.K., Murdoch, J.C. (2011).
“Systemic Neighborhood Observations at High Spatial Resolution:
Methodology and Assessment of Potential Benefits.” PLoS ONE 6(6):
e20225.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020225.
• Leonard, T.C.M., Croson, R.T.A., Oliviera, A.C.M. (2010). “Social
Capital and Public Goods.” Journal of Socio-Economics Vol. 39 Issue
4.

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