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Food Insecurity, Diet Quality, and Body Weight: Inter-Relationships and the Effect of Smoking and Alcohol Consumption


  • Duffy, Patricia A.
  • Zizza, Claire A.
  • Zhu, Min
  • Kinnucan, Henry W.
  • Tayie, Francis A.


Using data from the 1999-2002 rounds of the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the inter-relationships between food insecurity, diet quality and body mass index (BMI) were examined. The impact of smoking and alcohol consumption behaviors were also examined. The relationship between BMI and food insecurity was found to be sensitive to the specification of control variables, such as age, income, and race and ethnicity. Smoking was directly associated with lower BMI for both men and women; while alcohol consumption was directly associated with lower BMI only for men. Smoking negatively affected food insecurity and diet quality, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI). For women, these indirect effects were statistically significant and positive, but extremely small in magnitude compared to the direct effect. For both men and women, level of physical activity was found to be a much more important determinant of body weight than smoking, drinking, and food insecurity. For women, race had a more important impact on body weight than smoking or drinking.

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  • Duffy, Patricia A. & Zizza, Claire A. & Zhu, Min & Kinnucan, Henry W. & Tayie, Francis A., 2008. "Food Insecurity, Diet Quality, and Body Weight: Inter-Relationships and the Effect of Smoking and Alcohol Consumption," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6155, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea08:6155
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.6155

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    1. Bowman, Shanthy A. & Lino, Mark & Gerrior, Shirley A. & Basiotis, Peter P., 1998. "The Healthy Eating Index: 1994-96," CNPP Reports 257277, United States Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
    2. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    3. Nord, Mark, 2005. "Measuring U.S. Household Food Security," Amber Waves:The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural America, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, pages 1-2, April.
    4. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
    5. Richards, Timothy J. & Patterson, Paul M., 2004. "Native American Obesity: An Economic Model Of The Thrifty Gene Theory," 2004 Annual Meeting, June 30-July 2, 2004, Honolulu, Hawaii 36208, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    6. Zhuo Chen & Steven Yen & David Eastwood, 2007. "Does smoking have a causal effect on weight reduction?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 49-67, March.
    7. Jonathan Gruber & Michael Frakes, 2005. "Does Falling Smoking Lead to Rising Obesity?," NBER Working Papers 11483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Brian S. Armour & M. Melinda Pitts & Chung-won Lee, 2007. "Cigarette smoking and food insecurity among low-income families in the United States, 2001," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2007-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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    Food Security and Poverty; Health Economics and Policy;

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