IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/14721.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain

Author

Listed:
  • Janet Currie
  • Stefano DellaVigna
  • Enrico Moretti
  • Vikram Pathania

Abstract

We investigate the health consequences of changes in the supply of fast food using the exact geographical location of fast food restaurants. Specifically, we ask how the supply of fast food affects the obesity rates of 3 million school children and the weight gain of over 3 million pregnant women. We find that among 9th grade children, a fast food restaurant within a tenth of a mile of a school is associated with at least a 5.2 percent increase in obesity rates. There is no discernable effect at .25 miles and at .5 miles. Among pregnant women, models with mother fixed effects indicate that a fast food restaurant within a half mile of her residence results in a 1.6 percent increase in the probability of gaining over 20 kilos, with a larger effect at .1 miles. The effect is significantly larger for African-American and less educated women. For both school children and mothers, the presence of non-fast food restaurants is uncorrelated with weight outcomes. Moreover, proximity to future fast food restaurants is uncorrelated with current obesity and weight gain, conditional on current proximity to fast food. The implied effects of fast-food on caloric intake are at least one order of magnitude larger for students than for mothers, consistent with smaller travel cost for adults.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14721
    Note: CH HE LS PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14721.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    2. Cawley, John & Liu, Feng, 2012. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 352-364.
    3. 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.
    4. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher, 2004. "Reading, writing, and raisinets: are school finances contributing to children’s obesity?," Working Paper Series WP-04-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    5. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    6. 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.
    7. Davis, B. & Carpenter, C., 2009. "Proximity of fast-food restaurants to schools and adolescent obesity," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 99(3), pages 505-510.
    8. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Diane Whitemore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Childhood Disadvantage and Obesity: Is Nurture Trumping Nature?," NBER Chapters, in: The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective, pages 149-180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2006. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 133-148, Winter.
    10. Sara Bleich & David Cutler & Christopher Murray & Alyce Adams, 2007. "Why Is The Developed World Obese?," NBER Working Papers 12954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. 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.
    2. Barone, Adriana & O'Higgins, Niall, 2010. "Fat and out in Salerno and its province: Adolescent obesity and early school leaving in Southern Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 44-57, March.
    3. Courtemanche, Charles & Pinkston, Joshua C. & Stewart, Jay, 2021. "Time spent exercising and obesity: An application of Lewbel’s instrumental variables method," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    4. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, September.
    5. Pieroni, L. & Salmasi, L., 2014. "Fast-food consumption and body weight. Evidence from the UK," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 94-105.
    6. Courtemanche, Charles & Pinkston, Joshua C. & Stewart, Jay, 2021. "Time spent exercising and obesity: An application of Lewbel’s instrumental variables method," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    7. Alviola, Pedro A. & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Thomsen, Michael R. & Danforth, Diana & Smartt, James, 2014. "The effect of fast-food restaurants on childhood obesity: A school level analysis," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 110-119.
    8. Joelle Abramowitz, 2016. "The connection between working hours and body mass index in the U.S.: a time use analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 131-154, March.
    9. Stifel, David C. & Averett, Susan L., 2009. "Childhood overweight in the United States: A quantile regression approach," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 387-397, December.
    10. Vincenzo Atella & Joanna Kopinska, 2011. "Body weight of Italians: the weight of Education," CEIS Research Paper 189, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 23 Mar 2011.
    11. Pieroni, Luca & Salmasi, Luca, 2010. "Body weight and socio-economic determinants: quantile estimations from the British Household Panel Survey," ISER Working Paper Series 2010-41, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    12. Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2009. "Expanding wallets and waistlines: the impact of family income on the BMI of women and men eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(11), pages 1277-1294, November.
    13. Charles L. Baum, 2009. "The effects of cigarette costs on BMI and obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 3-19, January.
    14. Charles Courtemanche & Garth Heutel & Patrick McAlvanah, 2015. "Impatience, Incentives and Obesity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(582), pages 1-31, February.
    15. Font, Joan Costa & Fabbri, Daniele & Gil, Joan, 2010. "Decomposing cross-country differences in levels of obesity and overweight: Does the social environment matter?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(8), pages 1185-1193, April.
    16. Grossman, Michael & Tekin, Erdal & Wada, Roy, 2014. "Food prices and body fatness among youths," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 4-19.
    17. Michaud Pierre-Carl & van Soest Arthur H.O. & Andreyeva Tatiana, 2007. "Cross-Country Variation in Obesity Patterns among Older Americans and Europeans," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-32, December.
    18. Inas Rashad, 2007. "Cycling: An Increasingly Untouched Source of Physical and Mental Health," NBER Working Papers 12929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Richard V. Burkhauser & John Cawley & Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2009. "Differences in the U.S. Trends in the Prevalence of Obesity Based on Body Mass Index and Skinfold Thickness," NBER Working Papers 15005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Courtemanche, Charles & Carden, Art, 2009. "The skinny on big box retailing: Wal-Mart, warehouse clubs, and obesity," MPRA Paper 25326, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14721. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.