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Youths at Nutrition Risk: Malnourished or Misnourished?

In: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis

  • Jay Bhattacharya
  • Janet Currie

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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This chapter was published in:
  • Jonathan Gruber, 2001. "Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub01-1, May.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10695.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10695
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    National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

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    1. repec:fth:prinin:423 is not listed on IDEAS
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    3. Lashawn Richburg Hayes, 1999. "Are Prices Higher For the Poor in New York City?," Working Papers 802, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    7. Pauline M. Ippolito & Alan D. Mathios, 1990. "Information, Advertising and Health Choices: A Study of the Cereal Market," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(3), pages 459-480, Autumn.
    8. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
    9. P. Wilde & C. Ranney, . "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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