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Effects of Family, Friends, and Relative Prices on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption by African American Youths

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Facilitating healthy eating among young people, particularly among minorities who are at high risk for gaining excess weight, is at the forefront of the current policy discussions in the U.S. We investigate the effects of social interactions and relative prices on fruit and vegetable consumption by African American youths. We estimate a simultaneous equation ordered probit model of food intake using rich behavioral data from the Family and Community Health Study and price data from the Economic Research Service’s Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database. We find the presence of endogenous effects between a youth and parent, but not between a youth and friend. Lower relative prices of fruits and vegetables tend to increase intakes. Results suggest that health interventions targeting only one family member may be a cost-effective way to increase fruit and vegetable intake by African Americans because of the existence of “spillover†consumption effects between the youths and their parents.

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Paper provided by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University in its series Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications with number 10-wp515.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:10-wp515

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Keywords: endogenous effects; fruit and vegetable consumption; healthy food choices; simultaneous equation ordered probit model; social interactions. JEL Codes: I12; J15; C35;

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  1. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
  2. Clark, Andrew E. & Lohéac, Youenn, 2005. ""It Wasn't Me, It Was Them!" - Social Influence in Risky Behavior by Adolescents," IZA Discussion Papers 1573, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  5. Unnevehr, Laurian J. & Eales, J. & Jensen, Helen H. & Lusk, J. & McCluskey, J. & Kinsey, J., 2010. "Food and Consumer Economics," Staff General Research Papers 31410, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Harris, Jeffrey E. & González López-Valcárcel, Beatriz, 2008. "Asymmetric peer effects in the analysis of cigarette smoking among young people in the United States, 1992-1999," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 249-264, March.
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  8. Trogdon, Justin G. & Nonnemaker, James & Pais, Joanne, 2008. "Peer effects in adolescent overweight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1388-1399, September.
  9. Powell, Lisa M. & Tauras, John A. & Ross, Hana, 2005. "The importance of peer effects, cigarette prices and tobacco control policies for youth smoking behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 950-968, September.
  10. Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 214-233, March.
  11. Renna, Francesco & Grafova, Irina B. & Thakur, Nidhi, 2008. "The effect of friends on adolescent body weight," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 377-387, December.
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