A3 Book section, Chapters in research books
Economic Costs of Obesity in Europe (2022)

Viinikainen, J., Böckerman, P., & Pehkonen, J. (2022). Economic Costs of Obesity in Europe. In G. Garcia-Alexander, & D. L. Poston (Eds.), International Handbook of the Demography of Obesity (pp. 39-55). Springer. International Handbooks of Population, 12. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-10936-2_3

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsViinikainen, Jutta; Böckerman, Petri; Pehkonen, Jaakko

Parent publicationInternational Handbook of the Demography of Obesity

Parent publication editorsGarcia-Alexander, Ginny; Poston, Dudley L.



Journal or seriesInternational Handbooks of Population



Publication year2022

Publication date22/09/2022

Number in series12

Pages range39-55

Number of pages in the book345


Place of PublicationCham

Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open accessChannel is not openly available

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/83855


This chapter summarizes the evidence on the indirect costs of obesity that result from adverse labour market outcomes (i.e., earnings and employment losses) at the individual level. We focus on empirical evidence covering European countries emphasizing the most recent studies in this field. Research has established three key empirical observations. The first fact is that there is a negative link between excess weight and various labour market outcomes. Obesity is linked to significantly lower earnings, lower levels of employment and higher probability of entering sick leave or exiting from paid employment through disability pension. The second fact is that the negative link between excess weight and labour market outcomes is surprisingly robust across European countries, given that there are substantial country differences in labour market institutions, culture and the prevalence of obesity. However, there are also notable cross-country differences in these relationships. For example, the obesity-related wage penalty seems to be stronger in southern Europe compared to northern European countries. The third fact is that women in Europe seem to suffer less from obesity in terms of lower earnings compared to American women. Thus, the difference in the wage penalty of obesity among women vs. men seems to be smaller in Europe than in the U.S. Again, there is also significant heterogeneity in gender-segregated results by country in Europe.

Keywordsobesitycostseffects on employmentlabour marketlabour statusaccess to employmentwage levelinternational comparison

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 00:25