Socioeconomic inequality in excessive body weight in Indonesia

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Exploiting the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS), this paper studies the transition of socioeconomic-related excess weight disparity, including overweight and obesity, from 1993 to 2014. First, we show that the proportions of overweight and obese people in Indonesia increased rapidly during the time period covered and that poorer groups exhibited a larger annual excess weight growth rate than richer groups (7.49 percent vs. 3.01 percent). Second, by calculating the concentration index, we confirm that the prevalence of obesity affected increasingly poorer segments of Indonesian society. Consequently, the concentration index decreased during the study period, from 0.287 to 0.093. Finally, decomposing the change in the concentration index of excess weight from 2000 to 2014, we show that a large part of the change can be explained by a decrease in the elasticity of wealth and improved sanitary conditions in poorer households. Overall, obesity in Indonesia no longer affects purely the wealthier segments of the population but the entire socioeconomic spectrum.

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