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The association of fast food, fruit and vegetable prices with dietary intakes among US adults: Is there modification by family income?


  • Beydoun, May A.
  • Powell, Lisa M.
  • Wang, Youfa


We examined the effects of prices of fast foods and fruits and vegetables on dietary intake, body mass index (BMI) and obesity risks and whether the associations varied across groups according to their family income. Data from the US Department of Agriculture Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII 1994-96) for 7331 individuals aged 20-65 years with complete data on two 24-h recalls were used. We computed two food price indices (FFPI and FVPI) which were linked to individuals through geocoded identifiers. Main outcomes included dietary intakes of energy, selected nutrients and food groups, fast food consumption, and diet quality measured using two indices (HEI and aMED), BMI and obesity. Interaction terms between key variables were tested in regression analyses and in further stratified analysis by family income. Higher fast food price indices (FFPIs) were associated with higher fiber intake, lower saturated fat, and better overall diet quality as measured by aMED. FVPI was positively associated with improved dietary quality as well as in terms of lower cholesterol and sodium intakes, improved HEI and lower BMI. Most of these associations showed homogeneous strengths across income groups as evidenced by a non-significant FFPI x PIR or FVPI x PIR interaction term (p > 0.10). While increasing FFPI by 1 standard deviation was only borderline protective against fast food consumption, its association with other binary outcomes that were considered was non-significant. In contrast, FVPI was protective against obesity, particularly among the near poor. It was also associated with improved aMED score. Analyses of these national data suggest that changing fast food and fruit and vegetable prices may affect people's dietary quality and to some extent their adiposity, although the present study is limited by the available food price data.

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  • Beydoun, May A. & Powell, Lisa M. & Wang, Youfa, 2008. "The association of fast food, fruit and vegetable prices with dietary intakes among US adults: Is there modification by family income?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(11), pages 2218-2229, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:11:p:2218-2229

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
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    3. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlson, Andrea & Dong, Diansheng & Lino, Mark, 2010. "Are The Total Daily Cost Of Food And Diet Quality Related: A Random Effects Panel Data Analysis," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116395, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Pohl, R. Vincent & Clark, Kathryn L. & Thomas, Ryan C., 2017. "Minimum Wages and Healthy Diet," MPRA Paper 87239, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. McGeary, Kerry Anne, 2013. "The impact of state-level nutrition-education program funding on BMI: Evidence from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 67-78.
    4. Buttet, Sebastien & Dolar, Veronika, 2015. "The Price Of One Sweet Calorie," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 3(4), pages 1-14, October.
    5. Beydoun, May A. & Wang, Youfa, 2009. "Parent-child dietary intake resemblance in the United States: Evidence from a large representative survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2137-2144, June.
    6. Buttet, Sebastien & Dolar, Veronika, 2015. "Toward a quantitative theory of food consumption choices and body weight," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 143-156.
    7. 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.
    8. Charles J. Courtemanche & Joshua C. Pinkston & Christopher J. Ruhm & George L. Wehby, 2016. "Can Changing Economic Factors Explain the Rise in Obesity?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1266-1310, April.
    9. Rafael Moreira Claro & Vargas Hernandez & Joel Alberto & Satoru Shimokawa & Euna Han & Sharada Keats & Steve Wiggins, 2015. "The Rising Cost of a Healthy Diet – Changing Relative prices of Foods in High- Income and Emerging Economies," Working Papers id:7250, eSocialSciences.
    10. Xu, Xin & Variyam, Jayachandran N. & Zhao, Jenny & Chaloupka, Frank J., 2009. "Food prices and obesity: long-run effect in US metropolitan areas," 2009 Pre-Conference Workshop, August 16, 2009, Diet and Obesity: Role of Prices and Policies 53344, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Zhao, Zhenxiang & Kaestner, Robert, 2010. "Effects of urban sprawl on obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 779-787, December.
    12. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:34:y:2019:i:c:p:39-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Ziol-Guest, Kathleen M. & Dunifon, Rachel E. & Kalil, Ariel, 2013. "Parental employment and children's body weight: Mothers, others, and mechanisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 52-59.


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