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Food Environment and Weight Outcomes: A Stochastic Frontier Approach


  • Li, Xun
  • Lopez, Rigoberto A.


Food environment includes the presence of supermarkets, restaurants, warehouse clubs and supercenters, and other food outlets. This paper evaluates weight outcomes from a food environment using a stochastic production frontier and an equation for the determinants of efficiency, where the explanatory variables of the efficiency term include food environment indicators. Using individual consumer data and food environment data from New England counties, empirical results indicate that fruit and vegetables markets and full-service restaurants are negatively associated with weight outcomes, while warehouse clubs and supercenters are positively related. Supermarkets and other grocery stores, convenience stores and limited-service eating places are not significantly linked to weight gain. Farrell’s efficiency indexes are used to rank states and counties and several policy implications are suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Xun & Lopez, Rigoberto A., 2013. "Food Environment and Weight Outcomes: A Stochastic Frontier Approach," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151277, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:151277

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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 223-255, March-Apr.
    2. Janet Currie & Stefano DellaVigna & Enrico Moretti & Vikram Pathania, 2010. "The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 32-63, August.
    3. Richard A. Dunn, 2010. "The Effect of Fast-Food Availability on Obesity: An Analysis by Gender, Race, and Residential Location," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1149-1164.
    4. Michael L. Anderson & David A. Matsa, 2011. "Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 152-188, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Berning, Joshua P., 2012. "Access to Local Agriculture and Weight Outcomes," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 41(1), April.
    7. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    8. Bonanno, Alessandro & Goetz, Stephan J., 2010. "Adult Obesity and Food Stores’ Density – Evidence from State-Level Panel Data," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61341, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. Susan Chen & Raymond J. G. M. Florax & Samantha Snyder & Christopher C. Miller, 2010. "Obesity and Access to Chain Grocers," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 86(4), pages 431-452, October.
    10. Huffman, Sonya K. & Rizov, Marian, 2007. "Determinants of obesity in transition economies: The case of Russia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 379-391, December.
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    More about this item


    food environment; obesity; stochastic frontier; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Health Economics and Policy; I12;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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