During the past thirty years the prevalence of obesity among the U.S. population has doubled. Obesity, characterized by excess body fat, is associated with worse health, higher medical costs, and lost productivity. Longitudinal data shows that nowadays individuals continue gaining weight until their sixties, and obesity rate among the near-elderly population is the highest. Therefore identifying effective interventions to lower obesity rate among this population has the potential of generating immediate health and financial benefits. However, empirical evidence about effectiveness of various interventions is inadequate. The author addresses the long-term effect of physical activity on body weight and the effect of food price on body weight among Americans between ages 50 and 73. Retirement seems to cause an increase of about 1 percentage point in the incidence of diabetes among strenuous job leavers, but no such increase among their counterparts retiring from non-strenuous jobs. The price of calories, price of at-home food, and price of margarine are negatively associated with body mass index (BMI), while fast food price and the price of produce are not significantly associated with BMI.
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Retirement and Weight
Food price and body weight among older Americans