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Do they know what is at risk? Health risk perception among the obese

Joachim Winter () and Amelie Wuppermann

Munich Reprints in Economics from University of Munich, Department of Economics

Abstract: The perception of health risks and risky health behaviors are closely associated. In this paper, we investigate the accuracy of health risk perceptions among obese individuals, aged 50-62 years. We compare subjective risk perceptions for various diseases elicited in the American Life Panel to individual's objective risks of the same diseases. We find that obese individuals significantly underestimate their 5-year risks of arthritis or rheumatism and hypertension, whereas they systematically overestimate their 5-year risks of a heart attack and a stroke. Obese individuals are thus aware of some but not all obesity-related health risks. For given diseases, we document substantial heterogeneities in the accuracy of expectations across individuals.

Keywords: obesity; health risk; subjective expectations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I18 D84 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Published in Health Economics 5 23(2014): pp. 564-585

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Related works:
Journal Article: DO THEY KNOW WHAT IS AT RISK? HEALTH RISK PERCEPTION AMONG THE OBESE (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Do they Know what's at Risk? Health Risk Perception among the Obese (2012) Downloads
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