Working Hours, Body Mass Index and Health Status: A Time Use Analysis

Joelle Abramowitz, University of Washington

This paper examines the connection between time spent working, obesity, and self-reported health status as well as the mechanisms through which they might be related. The paper uses the 2006, 2007, and 2008 American Time Use Surveys linked with Eating and Health module data to estimate ordinary least squares, linear probability model, and instrumental variables specifications to identify the effect of time spent working on BMI, health status, and activities associated with eating, health, and non-market work. The paper also explores differential effects of working time by marital status and spouse’s working status as well as occupation type. To address unobserved heterogeneity in the choice of working hours, monthly state occupation-level unemployment rates are used to instrument for working time. Preliminary results suggest that working time is positively related to BMI and the likelihood of reporting a good health status and is negatively associated with various health-producing activities.

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Presented in Poster Session 2