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Title: Economic analysis of dietary and physical activity behaviours in relation to obesity
Author: Becker, Frauke
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 7861
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2012
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Rising obesity rates have generated serious policy concern and public interest. Along with biological and genetic factors contributing to weight gain, dietary and physical activity behaviours are considered the main determinants of individual body weight. In order to tackle the increasing obesity problem and change individual behaviour, effective policy interventions need to be developed which target specific groups within the population. Economic frameworks that have been designed to model individual choices can be applied to improve the understanding of how individual characteristics and socio-economic factors affect weight-related behaviours and body weight. This thesis uses data from the Scottish Health Survey and the HILDA (Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia) survey to empirically analyse (1) if average BMI and socio-economic characteristics differ across combinations of weight-related behaviours, (2) how diet and physical activity behaviours, as well as their determinants, can be adapted to explain BMI on average, (3) how determinants of BMI impact differently across a conditional BMI distribution, and (4) to what degree a change in BMI over time can be explained by changing influences. While previous economic research did not consider the combined effect of dietary and physical activity behaviours on body weight, this work will investigate the relationship between the weight-related behaviours and individual BMI on average and across the conditional BMI distribution to identify areas for policy interventions. Results indicate that an increase in individual physical activity is an effective measure to target individual weight. Although the energy balance framework suggests a promotion of both weight-related behaviours and traditional weight management measures promote a reduction in caloric intake, the analyses have shown that physical activity is the predominant behaviour regarding the influence on individual BMI (compared to individual diet measured by quality proxies rather than the overall caloric intake).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Obesity ; Physical activity ; Diet