Who is chronically obese in Indonesia? the role of individual preferences

Affandi Ismail, Chaikal Nuryakin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous studies have confirmed the relationship between individual risk and time preference and obesity. Nevertheless, none has studied the effect of these attitudes on chronic (long-term) obesity. This study used Indonesia Family Life Survey (IFLS) data from 16,366 individuals. It tracked their obesity status in 2007 and 2014 by calculating body mass index, the ratio between body weight and square of height. Besides the conventional risk-averse and risk-tolerant behaviour, the IFLS sample includes people who fear uncertainty related to the status quo bias. The ordered logit regression results show that past impatience, risk tolerance, and status quo bias behaviour (in 2007) are associated with transient or chronic obesity, while only current behaviour of status quo bias (in 2014) is associated with obesity. Furthermore, our study confirms that chronic obesity in Indonesia is prevalent among highly educated, high-income, and urban-centric individuals, exacerbated by impatience, risk tolerance, and uncertainty aversion. Thus, providing information on the risk of obesity and food calories, giving the incentive to avoid obesity, and improving the quality of built environments such as public parks, public transportation, and footpath could help prevent the rising obesity prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biosocial Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • chronic obesity
  • risk preference
  • status quo bias
  • time preference


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