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BMI, Perceived Health Status and Happiness: The Direct vs. Indirect Effect of Obesity

Y. M. Lin


This paper explores the relationships among the body mass index (BMI), perceived health condition and individual reported well-being, measured by happiness, using data from the 2009 Taiwan Social Change Survey (TSCS), which is a partner of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). A two-stage estimation approach is employed, in which the endogeneity of the individual subjective peceived health status is considered. The results indicate that there exists an inverse U-shaped effect of the body mass index on individual subjective perceived health status. Besides, the results indicate that subjective judgments regarding health conditions are significantly related to self-reported level of happiness, while the body mass index does not seem to directly affect the reported level of happiness, but has an indirect impact through the perceived health status. Furthermore, individual age, gender, religious activity, student status, sports habits and income status are also significant determinants of subjective happiness.


body mass index; well-being; endogeneity.

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