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The authors use a unique cross-country data set covering nearly 22,000 elderly individuals (age 50+) from 10 European Countries. Cross-country differences in the prevalence of obesity in older Europeans are substantial and exceed sociodemographic differentials in obesity. Obesity is strongly associated with major health risk factors, yet cross-country differences exist in how obesity is related to depression, heart disease and high cholesterol levels. Large heterogeneity in obesity across European countries should be investigated further to identify areas for effective public policy.

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND Labor and Population.

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