CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR, OBESITY AND SOCIAL COSTS. THE CASE OF ITALY

  • Paola Mancini
  • Giuseppe Marotta
  • Concetta Nazzaro
  • Biagio Simonetti

Abstract

This study analyses the social impact of obesity, focusing on the direct costs and, in particular,
on the health-care expenditure. Using different socio-demographic variables and through the
use of Multiple Correspondence Analysis and Partial Least Squares Regression, the analysis: i)
confirms the increase of the incidence of overweight and obesity when moving from Northern
to Southern Italy; ii) identifies the main variables related to the growth of obesity; iii) highlights
a positive relationship between BMI and health-care costs and an incidence of 6% on the
regional health-care costs. These findings confirm the need to define suitable guidelines for
decision makers and practitioners and to introduce mandatory regulations forcing companies
to effectuate product reformulation and achieve food safety. Indeed, asymmetric information
and consumer behaviour make investing in product reformulation undesirable for companies
because the use of attractive brands is more effective in influencing the purchasing decisions
even of a conscious consumer. Uninformed consumers often cling to the national brands,
which sometimes, behind an image of familiarity and identity, may hide harmful ingredients
(hydrogenated fats) or excessive quantities of certain ingredients (sugar, salt, saturated
fat) responsible for an unbalanced diet. Therefore, this justifies the introduction of binding
regulations.
Keywords: Consumer Behaviour; Obesity; Social Costs; Health-Care Expenditure; Multivariate
Model.

Published
2017-11-30
How to Cite
Mancini, P., Marotta, G., Nazzaro, C., & Simonetti, B. (2017). CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR, OBESITY AND SOCIAL COSTS. THE CASE OF ITALY. International Journal of Business and Society, 16(2). https://doi.org/10.33736/ijbs.570.2015