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Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity

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  • Shin-Yi Chou
  • Inas Rashad
  • Michael Grossman

Abstract

Childhood obesity around the world, and particularly in the United States, is an escalating problem that is especially detrimental as its effects carry on into adulthood. In this paper we employ the 1979 Child-Young Adult National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to estimate the effects of fast-food restaurant advertising on children and adolescents being overweight. The advertising measure used is the number of hours of spot television fast-food restaurant advertising messages seen per week. Our results indicate that a ban on these advertisements would reduce the number of overweight children ages 3-11 in a fixed population by 10 percent and would reduce the number of overweight adolescents ages 12-18 by 12 percent. The elimination of the tax deductibility of this type of advertising would produce smaller declines of between 3 and 5 percent in these outcomes but would impose lower costs on children and adults who consume fast food in moderation because positive information about restaurants that supply this type of food would not be banned completely from television.

Suggested Citation

  • Shin-Yi Chou & Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman, 2005. "Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11879
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 941-964.
    2. Henry Saffer & Dhaval Dave, 2006. "Alcohol advertising and alcohol consumption by adolescents," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 617-637.
    3. Cawley, John & Markowitz, Sara & Tauras, John, 2004. "Lighting up and slimming down: the effects of body weight and cigarette prices on adolescent smoking initiation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 293-311, March.
    4. Boyd, Roy & Seldon, Barry J., 1990. "The fleeting effect of advertising : Empirical evidence from a case study," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 375-379, December.
    5. Henry Saffer, 2000. "Alcohol Advertising And Motor Vehicle Fatalities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 431-442, August.
    6. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-504, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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