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An Economic Analysis of the Impact of Food Prices and Other Factors on Adult Lifestyles: Choices of Physical Activity and Healthy Weight


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  • Chen, Yanni
  • Huffman, Wallace E.


This paper examines women’s and men’s decisions to participate in physical activity and to attain a healthy weight. These outcomes are hypothesized to be related to prices of food, drink and health care services and products, the respondent’s personal characteristics (such as education, reading food labels, adjusted family income, opportunity cost of time, occupation, marital status, race and ethnicity) and his or her BMI at age 25. These decisions are represented by a trivariate probit model that is fitted to data for adults in the NLSY79 panel with geocodes that have been augmented with local area food, drink and health care prices. Separate analyses are undertaken for men and women due to basic physiological differences. Results include: Women and men who read food labels are more likely to participate in moderate and vigorous physical exercise, and women are less likely to be obese. Women with more education are more likely to be obese but educated men are less likely to be obesity. Higher prices for fresh fruits and vegetables and non-alcoholic drinks increase likelihood of obesity for females but not for males; and a higher price for processed fruits and vegetables reduce likelihood of obesity for females but not for males. A larger BMI at age 25 has wage effects later in life and also increases the probability of being obese.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin with number 49291.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea09:49291

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Keywords: Physical Activity; Obesity; Food Prices; Adult; United States; Consumer/Household Economics; Health Economics and Policy; Labor and Human Capital; I10; D10; J24;

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  1. Huffman, Wallace E. & Huffman, Sonya Kostova & Tegene, Abebayehu & Rickertsen, Kyrre, 2006. "The Economics of Obesity-Related Mortality among High Income Countries," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25567, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Huffman, Wallace E., 2001. "Human Capital, Education, and Agriculture," Staff General Research Papers 5329, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Huffman, Wallace E, 1977. "Allocative Efficiency: The Role of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 59-79, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Huang, Ying & Huffman, Wallace, 2013. "Forward Looking Decision Making: The Effects of the Food Stamp Program Participation on Women’s Obesity in the NLSY," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150264, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.


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