Retirement and Weight

TitleRetirement and Weight
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsGoldman, DP, Lakdawalla, D, Zheng, Y
KeywordsEmployment and Labor Force, Health Conditions and Status

Retirement from physically demanding work has long served as a healthful respite from backbreaking labor, even if it came too late in life for many. In today s era of expanding waistlines and increasingly sedentary jobs, however, leaving a physically demanding occupation may produce less healthful outcomes. We find that, during the first six years of retirement, males retiring from strenuous jobs appear to gain weight, while those retiring from sedentary jobs lose it. In particular, retirees from strenuous jobs gain approximately 0.5 more units of BMI, and exhibit relative declines in total exercise. The empirical facts suggest both a direct reduction in job-related exercise, and behavioral substitution towards more leisure-time exercise after retirement. Changes in food intake appear to play little to no role. Finally, the evidence suggests that those retiring from strenuous jobs are at least 25 more likely to contract diabetes in their retirement years. This is consistent with the negative health impacts of weight gain and reduced exercise.

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Citation Key5728