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Youths at Nutrition Risk: Malnourished or Misnourished?

In: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis

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  • Jay Bhattacharya
  • Janet Currie

Abstract

We use data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine the prevalence and determinants of poor nutritional outcomes among American youths. One strength of our analysis is that we focus on an array of nutritional outcomes, and we find in fact that the determinants of these outcomes vary considerably form outcome to outcome. We interpret our results using a model in which investments in health capital are affected by both resource constraints and a human capital production function that summarizes available nutrition information. We find that although many youths suffer from nutrient deficiencies, these conditions are not generally sensitive to measures of resource constraints, and hence are unlikely to be due solely to a shortage of food. Conversely, we find that our proxies for information matter. Our results suggest that broad-based policies designed to alter the composition of the diet may hold the greatest promise for addressing the nutritional problems of American youths.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jay Bhattacharya & Janet Currie, 2001. "Youths at Nutrition Risk: Malnourished or Misnourished?," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 483-522 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10695
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. P. Wilde & C. Ranney, "undated". "A Monthly Cycle in Food Expenditure and Intake by Participants in the U.S. Food Stamp Program," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1163-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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    11. Ippolito, Pauline M & Mathios, Alan D, 1995. "Information and Advertising: The Case of Fat Consumption in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 91-95, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bhattacharya, J. & DeLeire, T. & Haider, S. & Currie, J., 2003. "Heat or Eat? Cold-Weather Shocks and Nutrition in Poor American Families," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 93(7), pages 1149-1154.
    2. Jayanta Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven J. Haider, 2006. "Breakfast of Champions?: The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
    3. Bhattacharya, Jayanta & Currie, Janet & Haider, Steven, 2004. "Poverty, food insecurity, and nutritional outcomes in children and adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 839-862, July.
    4. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
    5. 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.
    6. Ver Ploeg, Michele & Mancino, Lisa & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2007. "Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs and Obesity: 1976-2002," Economic Research Report 55965, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    7. William N. Evans & Helen Levy & Kosali I. Simon, 2000. "Data Watch: Research Data in Health Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 203-216, Fall.
    8. Monheit, Alan C. & Vistnes, Jessica P. & Rogowski, Jeannette A., 2009. "Overweight in adolescents: Implications for health expenditures," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 55-63, March.
    9. Jayanta Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven J. Haider, 2006. "Breakfast of Champions?: The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press.
    10. Thomas Vartanian & Linda Houser, 2012. "The Effects of Childhood SNAP Use and Neighborhood Conditions on Adult Body Mass Index," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1127-1154, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health

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