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The impact of state-level nutrition-education program funding on BMI: Evidence from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system

  • McGeary, Kerry Anne
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    Currently, there is insufficient evidence regarding which policies will improve nutrition, reduce BMI levels and the prevalence of obesity and overweight nationwide. This preliminary study investigates the impact of a nutrition-education policy relative to price policy as a means to reduce BMI in the United States (US). Model estimations use pooled cross-sectional data at the individual-level from the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC), Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), state-level food prices from the American Chamber of Commerce Research Association (ACCRA) and funding for state-specific nutrition-education programs from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 1992 to 2006. The total number of observations for the study is 2,249,713 over 15 years. During this period, federal funding for state-specific nutrition-education programs rose from approximately $660 thousand for seven states to nearly $248 million for all fifty-two states. In 2011, federal funding for nutrition-education programs reached $375 million. After controlling for state-fixed effects, year effects and state specific linear and quadratic time trends, we find that nutrition education spending has the intended effect on BMI, obese and overweight in aggregate. However, we find heterogeneity as individuals from certain, but not all, income and education levels respond to nutrition-education funding. The results regarding nutrition-education programs suggest that large scale funding of nutrition-education programs may improve BMI levels and reduce obesity and overweight. However, more study is required to determine if these funds are able make the requisite dietary improvements that may ultimately improve BMI for individuals from low income and education-levels.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 82 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 67-78

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:82:y:2013:i:c:p:67-78
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