An International Comparison of Obesity in Older Adults
Effects and Risk Factors
Drawing from nationally representative samples of the non-institutionalized population ages 50 and above in ten European countries, this dissertation examines two issues related to obesity in older Europeans: (1) effects of excessive body weight on health, utilization of medical care, and labor force participation; (2) risk factors for obesity and environmental and societal variation across European countries. A review of strategies and approaches to prevent and manage obesity through public policy is included. Practices in different countries are compared, along with analysis of institutional structure, participants, functions, and policy actions in obesity control. Obesity is associated with significantly poorer health, medical care, and employment outcomes, with effects similar across countries. Obesity has stronger links to labor force participation among women, especially for retirement. About one-tenth of disease prevalence and ill health can be explained by obesity, which exceeds risk factors such as smoking and aging. Lack of regular physical activity is associated with higher obesity rates, especially among women. Food-related weight gain differs between European populations, depending on whether meals are eaten at home or at restaurants. Health education and health promotion as well as taxes and subsidies to regulate health are important prevention and intervention tools the government can use to improve social welfare. Policies on obesity worldwide have shifted from health education and individual awareness to the environmental impact of obesity. Further research is needed to permit government action to address the obesity problem.
- Copyright: RAND Corporation
- Availability: Web-Only
- Pages: 169
- Document Number: RGSD-206
- Year: 2006
- Series: Dissertations
The Effects of Obesity on Health, Medical Care Use and Labor Force Participation Among Older Europeans
Risk Factors for Obesity in Older Europeans
Discussion and Policy Implications: Policy Approaches to Obesity Across Countries
This document was submitted as a dissertation in August, 2006 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Emmett Keeler (Chair), Roland Sturm, and Neeraj Sood.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation dissertation series. PRGS dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a PRGS faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.