Obesity inequality in Malaysia

Decomposing differences by gender and ethnicity using quantile regression

Richard A. Dunn, Andrew K G Tan, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective. Obesity prevalence is unequally distributed across gender and ethnic group in Malaysia. In this paper, we examine the role of socioeconomic inequality in explaining these disparities. Design. The body mass index (BMI) distributions of Malays and Chinese, the two largest ethnic groups in Malaysia, are estimated through the use of quantile regression. The differences in the BMI distributions are then decomposed into two parts: attributable to differences in socioeconomic endowments and attributable to differences in responses to endowments. Results. For both males and females, the BMI distribution of Malays is shifted toward the right of the distribution of Chinese, i.e., Malays exhibit higher obesity rates. In the lower 75% of the distribution, differences in socioeconomic endowments explain none of this difference. At the 90th percentile, differences in socioeconomic endowments account for no more than 30% of the difference in BMI between ethnic groups. Conclusions. Our results demonstrate that the higher levels of income and education that accrue with economic development will likely not eliminate obesity inequality. This leads us to conclude that reduction of obesity inequality, as well the overall level of obesity, requires increased efforts to alter the lifestyle behaviors of Malaysians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-511
Number of pages19
JournalEthnicity and Health
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Malaysia
Financial Management
ethnicity
Obesity
Body Mass Index
regression
Ethnic Groups
gender
ethnic group
Economic Development
Life Style
Quantile Regression
Education
income
economics
education

Keywords

  • decomposition
  • health disparities
  • Malaysia
  • obesity
  • quantile regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Obesity inequality in Malaysia : Decomposing differences by gender and ethnicity using quantile regression. / Dunn, Richard A.; Tan, Andrew K G; Nayga, Jr, Rodolfo M.

In: Ethnicity and Health, Vol. 17, No. 5, 01.10.2012, p. 493-511.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dunn, Richard A. ; Tan, Andrew K G ; Nayga, Jr, Rodolfo M. / Obesity inequality in Malaysia : Decomposing differences by gender and ethnicity using quantile regression. In: Ethnicity and Health. 2012 ; Vol. 17, No. 5. pp. 493-511.
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