The impact of economic, political and social globalization on overweight and obesity in the 56 low and middle income countries

Yevgeniy Goryakin, Tim Lobstein, W. Philip T. James, Marc Suhrcke

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Anecdotal and descriptive evidence has led to the claim that globalization plays a major role in inducing overweight and obesity in developing countries, but robust quantitative evidence is scarce. We undertook extensive econometric analyses of several datasets, using a series of new proxies for different dimensions of globalization potentially affecting overweight in up to 887,000 women aged 15–49 living in 56 countries between 1991 and 2009. After controlling for relevant individual and country level factors, globalization as a whole is substantially and significantly associated with an increase in the individual propensity to be overweight among women. Surprisingly, political and social globalization dominate the influence of the economic dimension. Hence, more consideration needs to be given to the forms of governance required to shape a more health-oriented globalization process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Early online date14 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Developing countries
  • Globalization
  • Obesity
  • Overweight

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