Economics at your fingertips  

The effect of air pollution on body weight and obesity: Evidence from China

Olivier Deschenes, Huixia Wang, Si Wang and Peng Zhang

Journal of Development Economics, 2020, vol. 145, issue C

Abstract: We provide the first study estimating the causal effect of air pollution on body weight and obesity. Using the China Health and Nutrition Survey, which contains detailed longitudinal health and socioeconomic information for 13,741 adult individuals over 1989–2015, we find significant positive effects of air pollution, instrumented by thermal inversions, on body weight. Specifically, a 1 ​μg/m3 (1.54%) increase in average PM2.5 concentrations in the past 12 months increases body mass index by 0.27%, and also increases overweight and obesity rates by 0.82 and 0.27 percentage points, respectively. We also find evidence that these impacts can be explained in part by a variety of behavioral channels, including less physical activity, less walking to work or school, less sleep, and more fat intake.

Keywords: Weight gain; Obesity; Air pollution; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 I15 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
Working Paper: The Effect of Air Pollution on Body Weight and Obesity: Evidence from China (2019) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2020.102461

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Development Economics is currently edited by M. R. Rosenzweig

More articles in Journal of Development Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Haili He ().

Page updated 2021-01-14
Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:145:y:2020:i:c:s0304387820300365