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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

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economic preferences and obesity in a low income african american community

Economic Preferences and Obesity in a Low-Income African-American Community

Angela de Oliveira, Tammy Leonard, KeremShuval, Celette Skinner, James Murdoch, Catherine Eckel

health and the project
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
Obesity and Preferences
  • Economists believe behavior is driven by underlying preferences
  • Risk aversion: avoiding risk motivates safe, cautious behavior
  • Patience: a long-run perspective motivates behavior that makes future outcomes better
  • Both lead to healthier behavioral choices
risk measure
Risk Measure

Valencia 2011 Trust

risk preferences
Risk Preferences

Valencia 2011 Trust

time preferences
Time Preferences

Valencia 2011 Trust

slide8
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
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
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
Related papers
  • Leonard, Tammy, KeremShuval, Angela de Oliveira, CeletteSugg 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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