Journal Article

Revisiting the ‘Fat and Jolly’ hypothesis: socio-environmental determinants of obesity and depression in Spain

Joan Costa-Font and Joan Gil

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 4, issue 3, pages 513-542
Published in print September 2006 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online July 2006 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwl018
Revisiting the ‘Fat and Jolly’ hypothesis: socio-environmental determinants of obesity and depression in Spain

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  • Moral Philosophy
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The hypothesis of the reciprocal determination of obesity and depression (OD) epidemics, contrasts with the anecdotal wisdom of a person being ‘jolly and fat’, and calls for a better understanding of any underpinning socio-environmental determinants. This paper deals with the influence of socio-environmental factors (mainly social and personal interactions) in explaining the empirical association between OD. We draw upon a unique representative health survey from Spain; a country with a growing prevalence of both OD. We use instrumental variable methods to deal with reverse OD association and the existence of omitted confounding variables as common predictors. We find that in explaining the OD association, socio-environmental factors and especially family interactions appear to play a key intermediate effect rather than socio-economic position. Finally, we find evidence of the significant gender differences and a particular effect of health-related lifestyles behind the OD association.

Keywords: obesity; depression; socio-environmental determinants; social interactions; family interactions; inequalities in health; health lifestyles; instrumental variables; probit models; JEL classification: I12, I18 and I19

Journal Article.  10932 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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