Work, disability, and retirement: how the interplay between BMI and heart conditions affects older individuals’ trajectories in and out of the labor force
Angelo Lorenti1, Mikko Myrskyla1
1Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

We assess how obesity affects labor force participation, work-disability and retirement at older ages. Using a multistate modeling approach on a sample from the Health and Retirement study of individuals aged 50 and older, we estimate differences in expected years of participation in the labor force, in work-disability, and in retirement, by obesity status and heart conditions. Our results show that obese men can expect to participate in the labor market 13.0 years, 2.5 in work-disability, and 14.4 in retirement. Non-obese men can expect about 14.3 years in the labor force, 1.6 of work-disability and 13 in retirement. Obese women can expect to spend 10 years participating in the labor market, 3.3 years in work-disability and 19 years in retirement. Non-obese women can expect to spend 12 years in the labor market, 1.5 in work-disability and 19 in retirement. The effect of obesity results largely mediated by heart conditions.