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Insecurity, Inequality, and Obesity in Affluent Societies$
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Avner Offer, Rachel Pechey, and Stanley Ulijaszek

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264980

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264980.001.0001

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Obesity under Affluence Varies by Welfare Regimes

Obesity under Affluence Varies by Welfare Regimes

Chapter:
(p.199) Chapter 11 Obesity under Affluence Varies by Welfare Regimes
Source:
Insecurity, Inequality, and Obesity in Affluent Societies
Author(s):

Avner Offer

Rachel Pechey

Stanley Ulijaszek

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264980.003.0011

Among affluent countries, those with market-liberal regimes (which are also English-speaking) tend to have the highest prevalence of obesity. The impact of cheap, accessible high-energy food is often invoked in explanation. An alternative approach is that overeating is a response to stress, and that competition, uncertainty and inequality make market-liberal societies more stressful. This chapter reports an ecological regression meta-study that pools 96 surveys from 11 countries, using data collected in the years 1994 to 2004. The fast-food ‘shock’ impact is found to work most strongly in market-liberal countries. Economic insecurity, measured in several different ways, is almost twice as powerful, while the impact of inequality is weak.

Keywords:   obesity, affluent countries, market-liberal regimes, English-speaking regimes, high-energy food, ecological regression, fast food, economic insecurity, inequality

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