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Night light intensity and women’s body weight: Evidence from Nigeria

Kibrom Abay and Mulubrhan Amare

Economics & Human Biology, 2018, vol. 31, issue C, 238-248

Abstract: The prevalence of overweight and obesity are increasing in many African countries and hence becoming regional public health challenges. We employ satellite-based night light intensity data as a proxy for urbanization to investigate the relationship between urbanization and women’s body weight. We use two rounds of the Demographic and Health Survey data from Nigeria. We employ both nonparametric and parametric estimation approaches that exploit both the cross-sectional and longitudinal variations in night light intensities. Our empirical analysis reveals nonlinear relationships between night light intensity and women’s body weight measures. Doubling the sample's average level of night light intensity is associated with up to a ten percentage point increase in the probability of overweight. However, despite the generally positive relationship between night light intensity and women’s body weight, the strength of the relationship varies across the assorted stages of night light intensity. Early stages of night light intensity are not significantly associated with women’s body weight, while higher stages of nightlight intensities are associated with higher rates of overweight and obesity. Given that night lights are strong predictors of urbanization and related economic activities, our results hint at nonlinear relationships between various stages of urbanization and women’s body weight.

Keywords: Night light; BMI; Overweight; Obesity; Urbanization; Nigeria (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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