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Obesity in Urban Food Markets: Evidence from Geo-referenced Micro Data

  • Chen, Susan E.
  • Florax, Raymond J.G.M.
  • Snyder, Samantha D.

This paper provides quantitative estimates of the effect of proximity to fast food restaurants and grocery stores on obesity in urban food markets. Our empirical model combined georeferenced micro data on access to fast food restaurants and grocery stores with data about salient personal characteristics, individual behaviors, and neighborhood characteristics. We defined a "local food environment" for every individual utilizing 0.5-mile buffers around a person's home address. Local food landscapes are potentially endogenous due to spatial sorting of the population and food outlets, and the body mass index (BMI) values for individuals living close to each other are likely to be spatially correlated because of observed and unobserved individual and neighborhood effects. The potential biases associated with endogeneity and spatial correlation were handled using spatial econometric estimation techniques. Our policy simulations for Indianapolis, Indiana, focused on the importance of reducing the density of fast food restaurants or increasing access to grocery stores. We accounted for spatial heterogeneity in both the policy instruments and individual neighborhoods, and consistently found small but statistically significant effects for the hypothesized relationships between individual BMI values and the densities of fast food restaurants and grocery stores.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/49512
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Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin with number 49512.

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Date of creation: Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea09:49512
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  1. Anselin, Luc & Bera, Anil K. & Florax, Raymond & Yoon, Mann J., 1996. "Simple diagnostic tests for spatial dependence," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 77-104, February.
  2. Anderson, Michael L. & Matsa, David A., 2010. "Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America?," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt4vm5m5vr, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  3. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Janet Currie & Stefano DellaVigna & Enrico Moretti & Vikram Pathania, 2009. "The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain," NBER Working Papers 14721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Currie, Janet & DellaVigna, Stefano & Moretti, Enrico & Pathania, Vikram, 2009. "The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity," Working Papers 47830, American Association of Wine Economists.
  7. Irani Arraiz & David M. Drukker & Harry H. Kelejian & Ingmar R. Prucha, 2008. "A Spatial Cliff-Ord-type Model with Heteroskedastic Innovations: Small and Large Sample Results," CESifo Working Paper Series 2485, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Eid, Jean & Overman, Henry G & Puga, Diego & Turner, Matthew A, 2007. "Fat City: Questioning the Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Obesity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6191, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Cohen-Cole, Ethan & Fletcher, Jason M., 2008. "Is obesity contagious? Social networks vs. environmental factors in the obesity epidemic," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1382-1387, September.
  10. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Bert Van Landeghem, 2009. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 528-538, 04-05.
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