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Consumer Heterogeneity: Does It Affect Policy Responses to the Obesity Epidemic?


  • Lyford, Conrad P.
  • Belasco, Eric J.
  • Chidmi, Benaissa
  • Funtanilla, Margil


The fight against obesity in the U.S. has become a priority area for policy makers due to the additional health risks and health care costs. In developing policy to lower obesity rates, it is important to accurately characterize the impact that exercise, smoking and demographic characteristics have on BMI in order to draft effective policy. This analysis uses data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFS) to evaluate the relationship between behavioral and demographic factors with BMI while explicitly accounting for individual heterogeneity by using a quantile analysis. Results suggest that the effect of exercise, smoking, occupation and race vary by BMI quantile, indicating that consumers should be treated as heterogeneous at least for these factors in obesity policy and related analyses.

Suggested Citation

  • Lyford, Conrad P. & Belasco, Eric J. & Chidmi, Benaissa & Funtanilla, Margil, 2010. "Consumer Heterogeneity: Does It Affect Policy Responses to the Obesity Epidemic?," 2010 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2010, Orlando, Florida 56467, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:saea10:56467

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    More about this item


    Obesity; Quantile Regression; Heterogeneity; Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; I18;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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