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Trends in U.S. food prices, 1950-2007

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  • Christian, Thomas
  • Rashad, Inas

Abstract

The potential effect that food prices may have on the health of the U.S. population needs to be further explored, particularly in light of the rising food prices currently being observed. Declining food prices over time have been singled out as a main contributor, for example, to the rising trend in obesity. In this paper we use data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association, the Consumer Expenditure Survey, and the United States Department of Agriculture to analyze trends in various types of food prices, to create a food price index, and to estimate the price of a calorie. Results may be used by future researchers in estimating the health implications of these trends. We find that while the general trend in food prices has been declining, that of restaurant meal prices and prices of fruits and vegetables has risen over time. It is doubtful that the decline in food prices has been sufficiently large to account for the large increase in caloric intake that is said to have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the U.S.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 113-120

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:1:p:113-120

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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Keywords: Health production Food prices;

References

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  1. Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2005. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," NBER Working Papers 11584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tomas Philipson & Richard Posner, 2008. "Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Decade of Research on the Economics of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 14010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Huang, Kuo S. & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2000. "Estimation Of Food Demand And Nutrient Elasticities From Household Survey Data," Technical Bulletins 33579, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  6. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Helen H. Jensen, 2002. "Empirical Analysis Using Scanner Data: Econometric Issues and Policy Implications," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(3), pages 824-825.
  9. Anne O. Krueger, 1988. "The Political Economy of Controls: American Sugar," NBER Working Papers 2504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Stewart, Hayden & Blisard, Noel & Jolliffe, Dean, 2006. "Let's Eat Out: Americans Weigh Taste, Convenience, and Nutrition," Economic Information Bulletin 59411, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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Cited by:
  1. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2012. "Understanding overeating and obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 781-796.
  2. Rahkovsky, Ilya & Gregory, Christian A., 2011. "Food Prices and Blood Cholesterol," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103566, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  3. Dhaval M. Dave & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2010. "How Does the Business Cycle Affect Eating Habits?," NBER Working Papers 16638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pieroni, L. & Salmasi, L., 2014. "Fast-food consumption and body weight. Evidence from the UK," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 94-105.

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