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Food prices, access to food outlets and child weight

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  • Powell, Lisa M.
  • Bao, Yanjun

Abstract

This study examines the importance of food prices and restaurant and food store outlet availability for child body mass index (BMI). We use the 1998, 2000 and 2002 waves of the child-mother merged files from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth combined with fruit and vegetable and fast food price data obtained from the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association and outlet density data on fast food and full-service restaurants and supermarkets, grocery stores and convenience stores obtained from Dun & Bradstreet. Using a random effects estimation model, we found that a 10% increase in the price of fruits and vegetables was associated with a 0.7% increase in child BMI. Fast food prices were not found to be statistically significant in the full sample but were weakly negatively associated with BMI among adolescents with an estimated price elasticity of -0.12. The price estimates were robust to whether we controlled for outlet availability based on a per capita or per land area basis; however, the association between food outlets and child BMI differed depending on the definition. The associations of fruit and vegetable and fast food prices with BMI were significantly stronger both economically and statistically among low- versus high-socioeconomic status children. The estimated fruit and vegetable and fast food price elasticities were 0.14 and -0.26, respectively, among low-income children and 0.09 and -0.13, respectively, among children with less educated mothers.

Suggested Citation

  • Powell, Lisa M. & Bao, Yanjun, 2009. "Food prices, access to food outlets and child weight," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 64-72, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:1:p:64-72
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    2. Fortin, Bernard & Yazbeck, Myra, 2015. "Peer effects, fast food consumption and adolescent weight gain," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 125-138.
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    5. Dunn, Richard A. & Sharkey, Joseph R. & Horel, Scott, 2012. "The effect of fast-food availability on fast-food consumption and obesity among rural residents: An analysis by race/ethnicity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 1-13.
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    10. 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.
    11. Grafova, Irina B. & Freedman, Vicki A. & Lurie, Nicole & Kumar, Rizie & Rogowski, Jeannette, 2014. "The difference-in-difference method: Assessing the selection bias in the effects of neighborhood environment on health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 20-33.
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    14. Kristian Larsen & Brian Cook & Michelle Stone & Guy Faulkner, 2015. "Food access and children’s BMI in Toronto, Ontario: assessing how the food environment relates to overweight and obesity," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 60(1), pages 69-77, January.
    15. Staudigel, Matthias, 2011. "How (much) do food prices contribute to obesity in Russia?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 133-147, March.
    16. 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.
    17. Han, Euna & Powell, Lisa M. & Isgor, Zeynep, 2012. "Supplemental nutrition assistance program and body weight outcomes: The role of economic contextual factors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(12), pages 1874-1881.
    18. Euna Han & Lisa M. Powell, 2013. "Fast Food Prices And Adult Body Weight Outcomes: Evidence Based On Longitudinal Quantile Regression Models," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(3), pages 528-536, July.
    19. Alviola, Pedro A. & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Thomsen, Michael R. & Danforth, Diana & Smartt, James, 2014. "The effect of fast-food restaurants on childhood obesity: A school level analysis," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 110-119.
    20. Nakamura, R., 2012. "Intergenerational effect of schooling and childhood overweight," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/02, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    21. Lhila, Aparna, 2011. "Does access to fast food lead to super-sized pregnant women and whopper babies?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 364-380.
    22. Cam Hebda & Jeffrey Wagner, 2016. "Nudging healthy food consumption and sustainability in food deserts," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 57-71, March.
    23. Shier, Victoria & Nicosia, Nancy & Datar, Ashlesha, 2016. "Neighborhood and home food environment and children's diet and obesity: Evidence from military personnel's installation assignment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 122-131.
    24. Bauhoff, Sebastian, 2014. "The effect of school district nutrition policies on dietary intake and overweight: A synthetic control approach," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 45-55.
    25. Bradbear, Catherine & Friel, Sharon, 2013. "Integrating climate change, food prices and population health," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 56-66.

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