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Food prices and body fatness among youths

  • Grossman, Michael
  • Tekin, Erdal
  • Wada, Roy

We examine the effect of food prices on clinical measures of obesity, including body mass index (BMI) and percentage body fat (PBF) measures derived from bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), among youths ages 12 through 18 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This is the first study to consider clinically measured levels of body composition rather than BMI to investigate the effects of food prices on obesity outcomes among youths classified by gender and race/ethnicity. Our findings suggest that increases in the real price per calorie of food for home consumption and the real price of fast-food restaurant food lead to improvements in obesity outcomes among youths. We also find that a rise in the real price of fruits and vegetables leads to increased obesity. Finally, our results indicate that measures of PBF derived from BIA and DXA are no less sensitive and in some cases more sensitive to the prices just mentioned than BMI, and serve an important role in demonstrating that rising food prices (except fruit and vegetable prices) are indeed associated with reductions in obesity rather than with reductions in body size proportions alone.

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

Volume (Year): 12 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 4-19

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:12:y:2014:i:c:p:4-19
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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  1. Jason Fletcher & David Frisvold & Nathan Tefft, 2009. "The Effects of Soft Drink Taxes on Child and Adolescent Consumption and Weight Outcomes," Emory Economics 0908, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  2. Gabriella Conti & James J. Heckman, 2012. "The Economics of Child Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 18466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2006. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 133-148, Winter.
  4. John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Naci H. Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2009. "Obesity, Self-esteem and Wages," NBER Working Papers 15101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Roy Wada & Erdal Tekin, 2007. "Body Composition and Wages," NBER Working Papers 13595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Shin-Yi Chou & Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman, 2005. "Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Johansson, Edvard & Böckerman, Petri & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2009. "Obesity and labour market success in Finland: The difference between having a high BMI and being fat," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 36-45, March.
  11. Grossman, Michael & Tekin, Erdal & Wada, Roy, 2012. "Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Youth Body Composition," IZA Discussion Papers 7099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
  13. repec:mpr:mprres:4231 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Lee, Helen, 2012. "The role of local food availability in explaining obesity risk among young school-aged children," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(8), pages 1193-1203.
  15. Powell, Lisa M., 2009. "Fast food costs and adolescent body mass index: Evidence from panel data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 963-970, September.
  16. M. Christopher Auld & Lisa M. Powell, 2009. "Economics of Food Energy Density and Adolescent Body Weight," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(304), pages 719-740, October.
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