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Heat or Eat? Cold-Weather Shocks and Nutrition in Poor American Families

Author

Listed:
  • Bhattacharya, J.
  • DeLeire, T.
  • Haider, S.
  • Currie, J.

Abstract

Objectives. The authors sought to determine the effects of cold-weather periods on budgets and nutritional outcomes among poor American families. Methods. The Consumer Expenditure Survey was used to track expenditures on food and home fuels, and the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was used to track calorie consumption, dietary quality, vitamin deficiencies, and anemia. Results. Both poor and richer families increased fuel expenditures in response to unusually cold weather. Poor families reduced food expenditures by roughly the same amount as their increase in fuel expenditures, whereas richer families increased food expenditures. Conclusions. Poor parents and their children spend less on and eat less food during cold-weather budgetary shocks. Existing social programs fail to buffer against these shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhattacharya, J. & DeLeire, T. & Haider, S. & Currie, J., 2003. "Heat or Eat? Cold-Weather Shocks and Nutrition in Poor American Families," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 93(7), pages 1149-1154.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:2003:93:7:1149-1154_3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. P. Wilde & C. Ranney, "undated". "A Monthly Cycle in Food Expenditure and Intake by Participants in the U.S. Food Stamp Program," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1163-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    2. Jay Bhattacharya & Janet Currie, 2001. "Youths at Nutrition Risk: Malnourished or Misnourished?," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 483-522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. anonymous, 1999. "Banking relationships of lower-income families and the governmental trend toward electronic payment," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), vol. 85(Jul), pages 459-473, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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