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Youths at Nutrition Risk: Malnourished or Misnourished?

In: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis

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  • Jay Bhattacharya
  • Janet Currie

Abstract

We use data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine the prevalence and determinants of poor nutritional outcomes among American youths. One strength of our analysis is that we focus on an array of nutritional outcomes, and we find in fact that the determinants of these outcomes vary considerably form outcome to outcome. We interpret our results using a model in which investments in health capital are affected by both resource constraints and a human capital production function that summarizes available nutrition information. We find that although many youths suffer from nutrient deficiencies, these conditions are not generally sensitive to measures of resource constraints, and hence are unlikely to be due solely to a shortage of food. Conversely, we find that our proxies for information matter. Our results suggest that broad-based policies designed to alter the composition of the diet may hold the greatest promise for addressing the nutritional problems of American youths.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Jonathan Gruber, 2001. "Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub01-1.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10695.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10695

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    Cited by:
    1. Jay Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven Haider, 2004. "Breakfast of Champions? The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," Working Papers 189, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
    2. Monheit, Alan C. & Vistnes, Jessica P. & Rogowski, Jeannette A., 2009. "Overweight in adolescents: Implications for health expenditures," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 55-63, March.
    3. Janet Currie, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," NBER Working Papers 13987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Thomas Vartanian & Linda Houser, 2012. "The Effects of Childhood SNAP Use and Neighborhood Conditions on Adult Body Mass Index," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 1127-1154, August.
    5. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
    6. Jayanta Bhattacharya & Thomas DeLeire & Steven Haider & Janet Currie, 2002. "Heat or Eat? Cold Weather Shocks and Nutrition in Poor American Families," NBER Working Papers 9004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. William N. Evans & Helen Levy & Kosali I. Simon, 2000. "Data Watch: Research Data in Health Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 203-216, Fall.
    8. Bhattacharya, Jayanta & Currie, Janet & Haider, Steven, 2004. "Poverty, food insecurity, and nutritional outcomes in children and adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 839-862, July.
    9. Ver Ploeg, Michele & Mancino, Lisa & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2007. "Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs and Obesity: 1976-2002," Economic Research Report 55965, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

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