The rise in obesity in Cuba from 2001 to 2010: An analysis of National Survey on Risk Factors and Chronic Diseases data

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Using two waves of the National Survey on Risk Factors and Chronic Diseases in Cuba, we identify demographic and socioeconomic characteristics associated with obesity among urban adults aged 18+ and decompose the change in obesity within this 9-year period using both the mean-based Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition and a nonlinear approach. Our results reveal significant increases in overweight and obesity (2.3, 3.1, and 7.6 percentage points for BMI-based overweight, BMI-based obesity, and abdominal obesity, respectively). Depending on the decompositional approach and obesity measure, our analysis explains between 13% and 51% of the rise in overweight and obesity, with most part attributable to changes in risky behavior, age, and education. Of particular importance are the large decline in smoking and the population’s changing age structure.

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