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The Effect of Fast-Food Availability on Obesity: An Analysis by Gender, Race, and Residential Location


  • Richard A. Dunn


This paper employs an identification strategy based on county-level variation in the number of fast-food restaurants to investigate the effect of fast-food availability on weight outcomes by geographic location, gender, and race/ethnicity. The number of interstate exits in the county of residence is employed as an instrument for restaurant location. Using the 2004--2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and self-collected data on the number of fast-food restaurants, I find that availability does not affect weight outcomes in rural counties, but does tend to increase body mass index among females and non-Whites in medium-density counties. These results are robust to specification choices. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard A. Dunn, 2010. "The Effect of Fast-Food Availability on Obesity: An Analysis by Gender, Race, and Residential Location," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1149-1164.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:92:y:2010:i:4:p:1149-1164

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    1. Roosen, Jutta & Fox, John A. & Hennessy, David A. & Schreiber, Alan, 1998. "Consumers' Valuation Of Insecticide Use Restrictions: An Application To Apples," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 23(02), December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berning, Joshua P., 2012. "Access to Local Agriculture and Weight Outcomes," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 41(1), April.
    2. Andreas Drichoutis & Rodolfo Nayga & Heather Rouse & Michael Thomsen, 2015. "Food environment and childhood obesity: the effect of dollar stores," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-13, December.
    3. Thapa, Janani & Lyford, Conrad P. & Belasco, Eric J. & McCool, Barent & McCool, Audrey & Pence, Barbara & Carter, Tyra, 2013. "The Effect of a Multi-tiered Model for Reducing Obesity Risk Factors: Attitude and Behavior Change in a Rural Community," 2013 Annual Meeting, February 2-5, 2013, Orlando, Florida 143052, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    4. Wehby, George L. & Courtemanche, Charles J., 2012. "The heterogeneity of the cigarette price effect on body mass index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 719-729.
    5. Andreas Drichoutis & Rodolfo Nayga & Panagiotis Lazaridis, 2012. "Food away from home expenditures and obesity among older Europeans: are there gender differences?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 1051-1078, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Dharmasena, Senarath & Bessler, David A. & Capps, Oral, 2016. "Food environment in the United States as a complex economic system," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 163-175.
    8. Li, Xun & Lopez, Rigoberto A., 2013. "Food Environment and Weight Outcomes: A Stochastic Frontier Approach," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151277, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. Bimbo, Francesco & Viscecchia, Rosaria & Nardone, Gianluca, 2012. "Does the alternative food supply network affect the human health?," 126th Seminar, June 27-29, 2012, Capri, Italy 126060, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    10. Karl Aiginger, 2016. "New Dynamics for Europe: Reaping the Benefits of Socio-ecological Transition. Synthesis Report Part I," WWWforEurope Deliverables series 11, WWWforEurope.
    11. Dragone, D. & Ziebarth, N.R., 2015. "Non-Separable Time Preferences and Novelty Consumption: Theory and Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/28, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    12. Banterle, Alessandro & Cavaliere, Alessia, 2014. "Is there a relationship between product attributes, nutrition labels and excess weight? Evidence from an Italian region," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 241-249.
    13. Li, Xun & Wang, Rui, 2016. "Spatial Convergence of US Obesity Rates and Its Determinants," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235617, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    14. Cawley, John, 2015. "An economy of scales: A selective review of obesity's economic causes, consequences, and solutions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 244-268.
    15. Dunn, Richard A. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr. & Thomsen, Michael & Heather L. Rouse, 2014. "A Longitudinal Analysis of Fast-Food Exposure On Child Weight Outcomes: Identifying Causality Through School Transitions," Working Papers 34, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
    16. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, September.
    17. Hunt Allcott & Rebecca Diamond & Jean-Pierre Dubé, 2017. "The Geography of Poverty and Nutrition: Food Deserts and Food Choices Across the United States," NBER Working Papers 24094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Zhen, Chen, 2014. "Quantifying the Effects of Food Access and Prices on Food-at-home Demand," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170511, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    19. Cotti, Chad & Tefft, Nathan, 2013. "Fast food prices, obesity, and the minimum wage," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 134-147.
    20. Charles Courtemanche & Garth Heutel & Patrick McAlvanah, 2015. "Impatience, Incentives and Obesity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(582), pages 1-31, February.
    21. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Non-separable time preferences, novelty consumption and body weight: Theory and evidence from the East German transition to capitalism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-65.
    22. Ravensbergen, Léa & Buliung, Ron & Wilson, Kathi & Faulkner, Guy, 2016. "“Socioeconomic inequalities in children's accessibility to food retailing: Examining the roles of mobility and time”," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 81-89.
    23. Li, Lan, 2012. "An Empirical Analysis of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Its Relationship to Adult Obesity in the U.S," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 125002, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    24. repec:zwi:journl:v:41:y:2012:i:1:p:57-71 is not listed on IDEAS

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