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    Measuring obesity in the absence of a gold standard

    O'Neill, Donal (2015) Measuring obesity in the absence of a gold standard. Economics and Human Biology, 17. pp. 116-128. ISSN 1570-677X

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    Reliable measures of body composition are essential to develop effective policies to tackle obesity. The lack of an acceptable gold-standard for measuring fatness has made it difficult to evaluate alternative measures of obesity. We use latent class analysis to characterise existing diagnostics. Using data on US adults we show that measures based on body mass index and bioelectrical impedance analysis misclassify large numbers of individuals. For example, 45% of obese White women are misclassified as non-obese using body mass index, while over 50% of non-obese White women are misclassified as being obese using bioelectrical impedance analysis. In contrast the misclassification rates are low when waist circumference is used to measure obesity. These results have important implications for our understanding of differences in obesity rates across time and groups, as well as posing challenges for the econometric analysis of obesity.

    Item Type: Article
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Finance and Accounting
    Item ID: 8690
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Donal O'Neill
    Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2017 08:58
    Journal or Publication Title: Economics and Human Biology
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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