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Food insecurity and childhood obesity: beyond categorical and linear representations

Listed author(s):
  • Kuku-Shittu, Oluyemisi
  • Gundersen, Craig
  • Garasky, Steven B.

Previous work on the relationship between food insecurity and childhood overweight has lead to a wide array of answers – some have found a positive relationship, others no relationship, and still others a negative relationship. This previous work has shared one thing in common – all have used parametric models. In this paper we move beyond parametric models by using non-parametric models. With data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and a wide array parametric methods, we find evidence across different samples of a positive relationship, no relationship, and a negative relationship between childhood overweight and food insecurity. When we turn to non-parametric methods, however, this ambiguity across samples is not as prevalent. Instead, across different samples, we find (a) increases in the probability of food insecurity in the middle of the BMI distribution, (b) increases in the probability at the very high end of the BMI, and (c) no relationship across the entire distribution. We present some parametric models that roughly mimic these relationships. Our results indicate that efforts to reduce food insecurity will either have no impact on childhood overweight or would lead to reductions in childhood overweight.

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Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida with number 6163.

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Date of creation: 2008
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea08:6163
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  1. Parke Wilde & Mark Nord, 2005. "The Effect of Food Stamps on Food Security: A Panel Data Approach ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 27(3), pages 425-432.
  2. Glewwe, Paul & Jocoby, Hanan & King, Elizabeth M., 1999. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement," FCND discussion papers 68, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Jay Bhattacharya & Neeraj Sood, 2005. "Health Insurance and the Obesity Externality," NBER Working Papers 11529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Glewwe, Paul & Jacoby, Hanan G. & King, Elizabeth M., 2001. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement: a longitudinal analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 345-368, September.
  5. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2006. "Household Food Security in the United States, 2005," Economic Research Report 7243, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  6. Parke E. Wilde & Christine K. Ranney, 2000. "The Monthly Food Stamp Cycle: Shooping Frequency and Food Intake Decisions in an Endogenous Switching Regression Framework," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(1), pages 200-213.
  7. Inas Rashad & Sara Markowitz, 2007. "Incentives in Obesity and Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2007. "Household Food Security in the United States, 2006," Economic Research Report 55966, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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