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The Effect of Air Pollution on Body Weight and Obesity: Evidence from China

Olivier Deschenes, Huixia Wang (), Si Wang () and Peng Zhang ()
Additional contact information
Huixia Wang: Hunan University
Si Wang: Hunan University
Peng Zhang: Hong Kong Polytechnic University

No 12296, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We provide the first study estimating the causal effect of air pollution on body weight. Using the China Health and Nutrition Survey, which provides detailed longitudinal health and socioeconomic information for 13,226 adult individuals over 1989-2011, we find significant positive effects of air pollution, instrumented by thermal inversions, on body mass index (BMI). Specifically, a 1 μg/m3 (1.59%) increase in average PM2.5 concentrations in the past 12 months increases BMI by 0.31%, and further increases the overweight and obesity rates by 0.89 and 0.19 percentage points, respectively. Our paper identifies a new cause of obesity, and sheds new light on the morbidity cost of air pollution.

Keywords: air pollution; obesity; weight gain; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 I15 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-cna, nep-ene, nep-env, nep-hea and nep-tra
Date: 2019-04
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