Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is an escalating problem around the world that is especially detrimental as its effects carry on into adulthood. In this paper we employ the 1979 Child-Young Adult National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to estimate the effects of television fast-food restaurant advertising on children and adolescents with respect to being overweight. A ban on these advertisements would reduce the number of overweight children ages 3-11 in a fixed population by 18 percent and would reduce the number of overweight adolescents ages 12-18 by 14 percent. The elimination of the tax deductibility of this type of advertising would produce smaller declines of between 5 and 7 percent in these outcomes but would impose lower costs on children and adults who consume fast food in moderation because positive information about restaurants that supply this type of food would not be completely banned from television. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
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